“We’re innovative and punch above our weight”
GB Taekwondo is world class. The Ten Acres Sports Complex is located on the outskirts of Manchester from Monday to Friday, competition permitted, you will find taekwondo’s established Olympians and future Olympic hopefuls training.
After their success in recent Olympics, UK Sport increased GB Taekwondo’s funding to £8.2m for the four year cycle leading up to Tokyo 2020, a 22% increase on the backing they received for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
GB Taekwondo’s head office is stationed next door to the training hall. The office Matt Archibald, CEO of GB Taekwondo, assigned us on our visit to the centre had a window through which we could watch the athletes train first hand.
“I have worked in Canary Wharf and central London for sports organisations and it’s not the same feeling as working within a world class programme.”
“The biggest highlight is the close association with the
sport and athletes. Being right there in the coal face
in my office, you can hear them screaming, kicking
and shouting when they are training.”
“The biggest highlight is the close association with the sport and athletes. Being right there in the coal face in my office, you can hear them screaming, kicking and shouting when they are training.”
Taekwondo represents a real success story for Team GB. Having only been recognised as an Olympic Sport in 2000, they have gone on to win 6 medals across 5 Olympic Games.
“I think the main selling point for GB Taekwondo is we’re innovative and we punch above our weight. We are a small squad with fairly small participation yet we compete with the likes of the Korean team. We are always looking for ways to get the best out of everything we do.
“You ask anyone in there, they are trying to help athletes win medals. We’ve been blessed with some fantastic athletes.”
Matt explains that taekwondo offers the chance for a brand to be involved with a sport that centres everything they do as an organisation, and as individual athletes, around a few key values: commitment, ownership, responsibility and excellence (CORE).
“We are still open for that title sponsor, the main sponsor
of the whole team and the whole sport. There is definitely
potential out there, especially with the Olympics less two years away.”
“You have to have that mental toughness, you have to have that bravery. It is a daunting place and whilst we are very much a team and a squad up here, it’s an individual sport and these guys have to go in and do battle.”
In addition, Matt outlines consistency, dedication and respect as traits GB Taekwondo stand by.
“You will very rarely see bad tempered matches. That respect comes from the martial art, but it’s reinforced by our coaching team and everything we do. The behavioural standards are extremely high.”
GB Taekwondo already have sponsorship deals with brands such as; Mooto, High 5 and Reflex Nutrition, Bosu Body Bar, Hill Dickinson and Hakim Group amongst others. Yet they are still without a headline sponsor.
“We are still open for that title sponsor, the main sponsor of the whole team and the whole sport. There is definitely potential out there, especially with the Olympics less two years away.”
Within a title sponsor, a brand could have naming rights for the centre in Manchester, as well as appearing on the athletes combat suits, a new opportunity in the sport as branding was previously banned.
“I think with sport you have to connect on some sort of
emotional or value level. That’s not to say cash isn’t important,
you’ve got to have that conversation, but it does appear to be more than that.”
But a title sponsor is not the only opportunity GB Taekwondo has available,as they are now in the second phase of developing their training centre. On-site accommodation and improving the facilities available to the athletes, such as ice baths and wearable technology, are just a few of the additions they are looking to make. All of this is open to collaboration with a brand.
“We work in partnership with Manchester City Council and the Eastlands Trust. We could negotiate something that is in everyone’s interest. We are flexible.”
But it is not just cash GB Taekwondo are after. Yes, in negotiating sponsorship, cash and finances are a factor, but a true partnership is as important for Matt and the organisation.
“We always like working with, and we are lucky to work with, really good people. There tends to be a level of connection and a mutual respect. Where that exists you tend to enjoy and learn so much it.
“I think with sport you have to connect on some sort of emotional or value level. That’s not to say cash isn’t important, you’ve got to have that conversation, but it does appear to be more than that.”
In a similar vein to athletes, Matt acknowledges that building upon the success the sport has enjoyed on the Olympic stage is the biggest challenge he faces in running GB Taekwondo.
“Maintaining that Olympic success, it’s easy for me to say, is what we are here to do. To have very successful teams and continue that upwards trajectory.
“You’ve got to keep evolving and improving.”
If you want to learn more about how to perform under pressure, click here.