Golden Jade backs Bangor instructor


Matt Jones

NORTH Wales gold medal winner Jade Jones has backed a Bangor taekwondo instructor who has had lessons cut at a sports centre.

The 19-year-old who beat China's Hou Yuzhuo in the women's 57 kg weight category at the London Olympics in August said lessons helped change her life.

It comes after Bangor University reduced slots open to external taekwondo classes at the Normal Site gym on Holyhead Road, from three days to one day a week.

Jade, from Flint, said: "It is important for kids to have access to lessons, it teaches you discipline and it grounds you.

"I was a cheeky and naughty kid but when I got into taekwondo it gave me something to focus on. I kept my head down and my grades got better.

"It changed my life.

"A lot of people see the two weeks of the Olympics but it is years and years of hard work."

Instructor Marcus Gorst, aged 37 who runs classes for children and adults, said he was disappointed with the decision.

He said: "It was such a blow to the students, it is such a shame.

"I had been running the classes since 2006 and I was running classes three days a week on the Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

"The university said they need the hall hire for university groups.

"I have students that come all the way from Holyhead and the dedication of the students is fantastic."

Mr Gorst has started a new weekly class in Caernarfon, but said it increased travel time for students.

A spokesman for Bangor University said: "The university provides over 70 hours of space a week for community, club and public use across our facilities and at competitive prices, including subsidised rates for junior clubs.

"New opening hours also provide more opportunities to the public, by opening earlier and closing later at the weekends.

"There are also new classes and a new schedule and active membership scheme.

"The taekwondo classes were not provided by Bangor University, but by an external customer who hired the facilities.

"Due to increased use, the previous booking slot is no longer available.

"Other opportunities have been offered but not taken up by the customer.”

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