We’re absolutely delighted with our club’s success at the 2020 City of Liverpool Sports & Physical Activity Awards! The awards were presented on 9th March in a ceremony held at Liverpool Hope University, hosted by the Liverpool Sports Forum.
We’re proud to announce that our club had not one but THREE winners! An amazing achievement considering the high quality of all the shortlisted nominees.
Huge congratulations to:
⭐ Connor Murphy – winner, Young Volunteer of the Year
⭐ Callum Edwards – winner, Young Athlete Sports Bursary
⭐ Chris Davies – winner, Coach of the Year.
In order to give them the credit that they deserve, here are the full details of the nominations that we put forward. Well done, guys!
Connor Murphy – Young Volunteer of the Year
Connor is a 15-year-old student and junior coach at North West Spirit Taekwondo Club. He volunteers his free time several evenings per week and at weekends to help teach junior students and beginners. He is enthusiastic about passing on his knowledge to other students and helping them to achieve their own taekwondo goals. He has a great rapport with students of all ages, and shows a huge amount of patience with the young beginners, who can require a lot of one-on-one instruction. He is firm but fair, and always friendly.
Since taking on the role of junior coach, Connor’s confidence has grown noticeably. When he works in a group with other junior coaches at the club, he can usually be heard taking charge, coordinating the others and giving instructions to the students in a clear, authoritative voice. This is a huge change from the shy boy who began training with us years ago.
Connor also assists at the club’s belt examinations: he helps students go through their techniques beforehand; volunteers to be a sparring partner in the exam if needed; and also helps with coordinating the administration side. This helps take the pressure off everyone, from examiners to instructors to students, so is very much appreciated.
As well as dedicating his free time to volunteering at the club, Connor also likes to help coach the club’s competitors at various tournaments across the country. He is a regular competitor himself, so students respect his advice and encouragement. He also helps with running the events, often volunteering to assist with timekeeping and officiating.
Connor’s assistance in coaching at the club is a huge help to the instructors and students. When classes are busy, and especially when some of the senior instructors are on holiday, Connor’s help with coaching is absolutely essential to keeping things running smoothly. He has a hardworking attitude and is always good-humoured. He is a talented, patient coach who is able to work well with students of all ages. Connor’s commitment to volunteering is all the more remarkable as it has not impacted his dedication to his own taekwondo training. In fact, Connor has worked even harder in 2019, stepping up his training to become a serious competitor in the black belt division. In November, he trained hard for the World Taekwondo Championships in Scotland, earning a hard-fought silver medal in sparring as well as a gold medal in team sparring. Since then, he has set his sights high and started to attend national squad training, where he hopes to improve his fitness and fight skills, as well as having the chance to be selected for the England team.
Callum Edwards – nominated for Young Athlete of the Year; winner of £250 Sports Bursary
Callum is a dedicated, 15-year-old taekwondo student at North West Spirit Taekwondo Club. He trains several times per week and always puts 100% effort into every session. As a national squad member, he also regularly travels around the country to train with the England team. He loves all aspects of taekwondo, and his passion and determination have driven him to excel.
Callum is among the top competitors nationally for his category and in 2019, he took part in 8 tournaments and won 18 medals, 15 of which were gold. His tournament titles in the last year include North West Champion, English Champion, British Champion, UK Champion and World Champion.
His impressive sparring skills have become well-known on the tournament circuit, and in January 2020 he was awarded two Black Belt Competitor of the Year trophies by Global Taekwondo International, as he had been ranked first in both patterns and sparring categories for their 2018-19 tournament season. At his club’s annual Student Awards ceremony, Callum has received the award for Best Junior Male Competitor for the last eight years running.
In 2019, Callum trained hard for the World Taekwondo Championships, held in Scotland in November. He was in a division of skilled young fighters, but his determined and skilful sparring made him stand out above them all, and he was awarded the World title. Despite being exhausted, he went on to compete in the team sparring event, where he pushed himself to battle through several more rounds, eventually earning yet another gold medal.
Although he can be a fearsome opponent in the ring, Callum is also known for his sportsmanship and self-control. He can be a fierce fighter when he needs to be, but he can also be controlled and respectful when he knows his opponent requires a gentler approach (such as when he’s against less experienced or less confident fighters).
As well as being dedicated to his own training, Callum also volunteers as a junior coach at his taekwondo club for several hours per week. His fellow students (both young and old) look up to him, and he often helps to teach the younger, more inexperienced students and helps them to gain confidence in their techniques. He also gives up his time to volunteer at local belt gradings and national tournaments to assist with running the events.
In June 2019, Callum took part in a sponsored taekwondo charity event, the ‘100 Rounds of Sparring,’ where he and his teammates completed 100 back-to-back rounds of sparring to raise £625 for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Callum is a dedicated student, whose talent and attitude is much admired by his fellow students, coaches and the wider taekwondo community.
Chris Davies – Coach of the Year
Chris is the Chief Instructor at Liverpool’s North West Spirit Taekwondo Club. The club turned 12 years old in 2019, and enjoyed one its most successful years.
In 2019, Chris coached many students to success at both belt gradings and tournaments. His students achieved 139 trophies and medals at local, national and international tournaments. The biggest of these was the World Taekwondo Championships in Scotland in November, where every one of his students won a medal, including eleven World titles – ten of which were won by students aged under 16 years.
Before the World Championships, Chris organised fundraising events, including a raffle and a sponsored taekwondo ‘kick-a-thon’, which raised money to help each student with entry fees, travel and accommodation. In June 2019, he took part in a sponsored taekwondo charity event, the ‘100 Rounds of Sparring,’ where he and his students completed 100 back-to-back rounds of sparring and raised £625 for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Chris encourages all his students to attend national squad training, where they can improve their fitness and fight skills, and potentially be selected to represent their country at international competitions. He has already had eight students selected over the years, and in 2019 he added another student to the list, selected to represent England at just nine years old.
Chris has continued to run the club’s Junior Coach programme in 2019, giving a few trusted students extra responsibility and the title of ‘Junior Coach’ in return for free training. This gives the students a confidence boost and helps them to develop their coaching skills under Chris’s guidance, as well as providing more coaching staff for the students.
Chris is always looking for new ideas and he researches drills and techniques on YouTube and Instagram to keep his classes fun, interesting and challenging. In 2019, he attended a Taekwondo Instructor’s Day, where instructors from around the country trained together and learned from one another, benefiting from new ideas to take back to their students.
Chris regularly travels across the country to support his fighters at various events throughout the year. Chris enjoys coaching, as well as volunteering to referee at national tournaments. He helped to run a Referees Course in 2019, passing on his knowledge to other taekwondo practitioners and encouraging them to get involved.
Chris is passionate about keeping taekwondo affordable and inclusive, so class fees have been kept at the same low price since his club opened in 2007. This, plus a free trial lesson for beginners, continues to encourage participation, and keeps classes affordable for those with low incomes and for families with several members taking part. Chris enjoys teaching both junior and senior students, mixing high standards of performance with discipline, love of the sport and a fun attitude. He has a great rapport with students of all ages and loves helping students improve and reach their potential. He takes huge satisfaction from seeing his students’ confidence grow, and by helping them persevere to achieve their goals.