Spring Championships 2019

Ismael (First Fight)

On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March 2019, the University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club attended the BSTF Spring Championships, which was also the qualification event for the EUSA (European Student) Championships in Croatia. This was the biggest BSTF competition of the year with over 600 participants and 55 Universities across the UK. Our team competed in Kukkiwon patterns, WT style sparring and ITF style sparring.

Our team this season did better than ever! We came home with 5 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 5 bronze medals, including 2 EUSA Championship qualifiers.

On Saturday, Fabian Burkhardt and Bel Bevan-Davies competed in the pair Kukkiwon patterns discipline for A-class where they showed great form and teamwork, achieving a bronze medal. Fabian also participated in the team Kukkiwon patterns discipline for A-class with Henry Chiu (Loughborough) and Jack Durcan (UCLAN); they demonstrated excellence and achieved a gold medal. Amazingly, Fabian also participated in the Kukkiwon patterns discipline for A-class and achieved a bronze medal. Fabian did incredibly well throughout and managed to qualify for the EUSA Championships.

Haydn Price, Divya Kaurc and Tom O’Sullivan participated in Kukkiwon patterns discipline for C-class and proudly entered the semi-finals! Tom and Divya also competed in the pair Kukkiwon patterns discipline for C-class and also entered the semi finals. All of them performed very well and we are extremely proud of their achievements.

On the same day, Rachel Higgins competed very well in both ITF and WT style sparring for B-class. It was very tough as one of her fights ended in a nosebleed. Nevertheless, she continued fighting and achieved a gold in ITF and a bronze in WT! Martin Kong competed in C-class ITF style sparring and having never have competed in ITF before, he amazingly achieved a silver medal. The two of them performed exceptionally well.

On Sunday, the club competed in A-class and C-class sparring. Divya and Richard Pearce faced very difficult fights and fought well in the C-class quarterfinals. Haydn also performed really well in C-class sparring by making it into the semi-finals and winning a bronze medal. Sharon, competing for the first time, won gold in WT style C-class sparring.

The hardest worker on Sunday was Tom, who sparred in the most popular category, male WT C-class -74 kg. He fought all day, and won them all, even after injuring his foot quite seriously in the final. His perseverance rendered him a gold medal!

Our last competitor was Ismael Mekene Coulibaly for A-class WT style sparring, who made it into the spotlight finals and after a tense and thrilling fight, he achieved a gold medal! Ismael also qualified for the EUSA Championships.

This was one of the most successful competitions to date! The club is immensely proud of everyone and we are extremely excited for future competitions where we hope more members are encouraged to compete too!

Most importantly, we give our deepest gratitudes to Fabian and Hamid Ghayoorzadeh for coaching our team, the spectators who came along to cheer and our instructors David Austin Grey and Jim Clements for such invaluable support and guidance.

[Sharon Chan, Social Media Officer]


Mayor Cup Open Poomsae Championships


On 2nd March, Fabian Burkhardt, Tom O’Sullivan and Marianna Hurst competed at the KTA 3rd Mayor Cup Open Poomsae Championships in Harrogate.

The 3 of them made incredible achievements! Tom won Gold in the K3 U35 Male category. Marianna won Gold in the Dan U30 Female Team category, and Bronze in the Dan U30 Pair category with Fabian, who also achieved Bronze in the U30 Male Individual category and Gold in the U30 Male Team category.

It was a very long and exhausting day, but also extremely rewarding for the competitors.

We look forward to the next competition!

[Sharon Chan, Social Media Officer]

Winter Championships 2018


On 17th February 2019, University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club took part in the BSTF Winter Championships at Nottingham Trent, Lee Westwood Sports Centre.

The team was coached by Hamid Ghayoorzadeh and Fabian Burkhardt, with Marianna Hurst and Haydn Price volunteering. 11 members competed; Ismael Coulibaly, Rachel Higgins, Catriona Baker, Fabian Burkhardt, Antony Duff, Usman Ali, Zara Hawzey, Haydn Price, Marianna Hurst and Justin Tan.

The results were absolutely amazing! We placed in the top 10 Universities that day, sitting comfortably in 9th place with 37.0 points. With their hard work and indomitable spirit, the team came away with 9 medals!

  • Ismael A class fighting WT Gold
  • Rachel C class fighting WT Gold and ITF Gold
  • Catriona C class fighting WT Silver
  • Fabian A class Kukkiwon Poomsae Bronze
  • Antony B class fighting WT Bronze
  • Usman B class fighting WT Bronze
  • Zara C class fighting WT Bronze
  • Haydn C class fighting WT Bronze

This was one of the most successful competitions for our club and we are immensely proud of our team’s achievements. A massive congratulations to everyone and we look forward to the Spring Championships next month!

[Sharon Chan, Social Media Officer]

December Grading 2018


Bringing an amazing end to the semester, on the 15th December 2018, University of Birmingham Taekwondo held yet another successful grading. We had 10 members grading for the first time, 6 for their green tags, 1 for green belt and 1 for blue belt.

It was great to see so many members progressing incredibly well in Taekwondo, as everyone showed their hard work and indomitable spirit.

The day ended with delicious cake left over from our bake sale, held on 12th December 2018, which was well deserved.

It has been such an enjoyable semester and we look forward to seeing everyone in 2019.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from University of Birmingham Taekwondo!

[Sharon Chan, Social Media Officer]

Autumn Championships 2018



On 18th November 2018, the University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club participated in the Autumn Championships at Jean Brown Indoor Arena, London.

Fabian Burkhardt competed in the A-class Kukkiwon Poomsae male division and impressively achieved a silver medal. He was surprised at the number of participators as there were 33 other Universities and 125 patterns competitors overall. Nevertheless, Fabian executed his performance fantastically and accomplished incredible results.

Coached by Fabian, Richard Pearce participated in the A-class WT Sparring division. Having had previous experience as an ITF fighter, Richard entered the Autumn Championships in prospect of gaining insight at his first WT competition with the BSTF. Amazingly, Richard placed 5th amongst many other very experienced fighters.

The Autumn Championships was extremely successful for both Richard and Fabian and the club is immensely proud of their results. This has been a fruitful first competition of the academic year and we are very excited for more.

[Sharon Chan, Social Media Officer 18/19]

BSTF 2018


On 10-11th March 2018, University of Birmingham Taekwondo University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club competed at the 32nd Student National Taekwondo Championships at University of Worcester Arena, in both sparring and patterns.

The team was coached by Hamid Ghayoorzadeh, Lee Bryan and Tom Hughes, and consisted of Ismael Coulibaly, Osanne Gbayere, Mark Elliot, Tom O’Sullivan, Joshua Munday, Antony Duff, Taran Chahal and Miles Dabbs. They all fought extremely well to earn four medals:
– Ismael Coulibaly – Gold
– Osanne Gbayere – Gold
– Mark Elliot – Silver
– Tom O’Sullivan – Bronze

After an intense first fight ending in a sudden death round, Ismael Coulibaly then sailed through his remaining fights to win gold. Mark Elliot won an impressive two fights despite sustaining an early back injury, which eventually cost him his last fight to leave him with a hard-earned silver medal. Osanne Gbayere proved his skill by earning his second gold medal this term, having tasted his first victory one month ago at Lion’s Cup. Joshua Munday, pictured above in blue, won the first round of his first ever Taekwondo tournament fight with a magnificent headshot.

[Ann Lu, Social Media Officer]

Lion’s Cup, Nottingham

Seven club members – Antony Duff, Dan Wallace, Tom O’Sullivan, Henry Yao, Hettie Martin, Osanne Gbayere and Justin Tan – fought in the World Taekwondo style sparring tournament, coached by Hamid Ghayoorzadeh and Tom Hughes. With their skill, hard work and determination, they achieved 1 gold (Osanne), 4 silver (Antony, Dan, Tom, Henry) and 1 bronze (Hettie).

Highlights include a dramatic sudden death round for Dan Wallace. After a good start, fatigue lost Dan his 7 point lead, and the third round ended with a 14 point draw. Hettie Martin, who has recently participated in Army Taekwondo trials, also completed in poomse (patterns) as well as sparring. Osanne sailed through his fight to win gold with plenty of energy to spare.


For many of our fighters, this was their first Taekwondo tournament after their first grading, and we are looking forward to seeing them achieve even more at Nationals next month.

The club enjoyed some well-earned Thai food at Zaap after the competition, followed by some intense Uno, Battleships, Connect 4 and Chess at board game cafe Ludorati.

Many thanks to Hamid G and Tom H for coaching; and to Mahisa, Tom H and Youssef for driving.

[Ann Lu, Social Media Officer]

5 Medals from Challenge Cup

On Sunday 3rd December, University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club competed at the British Student Taekwondo Federation Challenge Cup, held at Aston University.

All five of our competitors achieved Silver or Bronze medals, with their determination and spirit as well as the expert coaching of Hamid Ghayoorzadeh, Lee Bryan and Tom Hughes.

Mark Elliot and Hao Guo both earned Silver medals. Despite being ITF-style fighters, they chose to compete in the WT division in line with the club’s training style, which makes their achievement especially impressive.

Sarah Akponasa showed beautiful technique in her fights but lost to an old adversary to leave with a Bronze medal. Justin Tan and Usman Ali also achieved Bronze medals, Usman fighting his way into a staggering 20 point lead in his first fight.

Taekwondo club look forward to taking members who have just started Taekwondo to their first competitions, as on Saturday 9th December we were proud to see a staggering 23 people take their first ever grading, to make them eligible for competitions.

Participation in training, competitions and social events has been outstanding in this crucial first term and the club is excited for a busy 2018 with both new and old members.

[Ann Lu, Social Media Officer]

BSTF 2017

On 4-5th March 2017, University of Birmingham Taekwondo Club made an outstanding performance at the 31st Student National Taekwondo Championships at University of Worcester Arena.

The club’s 8 competitors came away with an impressive 5 medals in sparring, with Ismael Mekene Coulibaly and Mahammad Ouattara also qualifying for the European Universities Championships in July 2017, to be held in Portugal.
• Ismael Mekene Coulibaly – gold
• Mahammad Ouattara – gold
• Jayan Patel – gold
• Mohamed Fawzy – silver
• Usman Ali – bronze

[Ann Lu, Social Media Officer]