Wembley taekwondo instructor handed top job with England
PUBLISHED: 12:59 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:59 13 February 2017
A taekwondo instructor from Wembley has been handed the reins of the England ITF team.
Johann De Silva, founder of the original De Silva Taekwondo academy at St James’ Church Centre, has been named head coach.
This comes after he was also appointed technical director, which gives him the mandate to continue the development of the sport throughout the country.
The former world champion comes with a glowing reputation. Since opening his school in 1998, he has now expanded into Ealing, Ruislip and further afield in Colchester and has helped trained world, European and UK champions.
He has been an England coach for 12 months, working with the team at last year’s European championships.
His role this year, the first of a two-year stint, will see him lead the team into World Championships in Ireland in October.
And on top of this he will continue to teach his students at his own club, where he puts on classes for all ages and abilities, both children and adults.
It might seem like a lot but De Silva is relishing the increased workload.
He said: “It’s been an unbelievable couple of weeks.
“My role as head coach sees me oversee the squad development and training.
“We have just had the second round of selection ahead of this year’s European Championships in Bulgaria in April.
“For the moment the main objective is to win medals and improve the squad.
“The long-term goal is to increase the accessibility of the national team. Some of the young ones might not know how to get into it so I’m hoping to do a tour of the country.”
The technical director role is slightly different.
“There I am trying to improve the standards of Taekwondo in England,” he said. “I want to increase the number of people in the sport, working with the groups and instructors across the country.
“It’s not about interfering; it’s about creating opportunities.
“I also want to increase the technical standard. What we really want to do is work on the finer elements, not the basics.”
De Silva trains in ITF which is slightly different format to what most of us will have seen at the Olympics.
“The best way to describe it is it’s like Rugby Union and Rugby League,” he explained. “The skills are transferrable but they are different sports.
“Most parents bring their children because they have seen it on the Olympics. We make sure they realise we train in a different aspect of the sport but if they see their children, defending themselves and enjoying it, they stay.”
The club will offer a free trial to anyone who references the article or the paper when you contact them.
For more information on the club go to www.desilvatkd.com