Great Britain recruit Ben Haines returned to his roots as he helped inspire the next generation of taekwondo talents.
The 19-year-old, from Horndean, who is moving to the GB Taekwondo Academy full-time next month, stepped back to where it all started for him.
Haines learned his trade at the Cowplain Academy under the guidance of senior instructor Brian Mitchelmore.
He first stepped through the door at the age of 10 and trained with the club for six years.
Now it was time to give something back as the Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful took a session for the club’s taekwondo squad.
It proved hugely successful, with the younger members clearly inspired.
Senior members of the club were also put through their paces, working up a sweat in the session watched by family members of the taekwondo talents.
Haines said: ‘It went really well. I enjoyed coming back to my old club. It brings back really good memories.
‘It was a long time ago when I was at the club. I started out at 10 and I left at 16. They gave me those basics.
‘I joined and enjoyed it so I kept coming back. I loved it. I loved the traditional side and the sparring side.
‘That’s why I went on to do what I do now.
‘If you want to boost your confidence and get fit, this is the club to come to.’
Haines was thrilled to have the opportunity – organised as part of a sponsorship agreement with Cowplain and Portsmouth Academy who will be providing vital funding for the Horndean ace to help with the costs of training and competing.
He added: ‘We put a basic session on with some techniques and a focus on having fun.
‘A lot of the squad are very young so we set it up for them to enjoy it.
‘We kept them focused and made sure they would enjoy what they are being teached and what they are learning.
‘Brian helped me out for six years so it is a long time – teaching me discipline, self respect and confidence.
‘They are sponsoring me now which is a great help.
‘I am thankful as it all helps with the cost of training and travelling around.’
Mitchelmore felt it was obvious from an early age that Haines had the right sort of attitude to achieve something special.
He was able to help put his student on the path to success by advising him to switch to the Olympic form of taekwondo.
Since then, Mitchelmore has kept an eye on Haines’ progress via The News.
He said: ‘I read in The News that Ben was doing well.
I called him up and we talked about maybe sponsoring Ben, doing some seminars with him and bringing him back into contact with us all.
‘We can all learn from what he has experienced in that process of going from us to where he is now.
‘The session went very well, the kids really loved it.’
Anyone who is interested in joining the Cowplain Taekwondo Academy should contact Mitchelmore on 07810 632388.
Or log on to the website itaengland.com/academies/cowplain.aspx to find out more about the club.