PLYMOUTH Studio School’s Rhys Roffey has a fighting chance of following in the footsteps of double taekwondo gold medallist Jade Jones and competing for Great Britain at the Olympics.
The 15-year-old, who joined the school’s high performance sports programme in September, has been selected to join the GB Taekwondo Talent Programme for the 2020/2024 Olympic Games.
The Year 10 pupil, who has been training with South Coast Martial Arts since he was four years-old, will attend three probationary sessions in Manchester over the coming months as part of programme.
The scheme is designed to develop athletes for world class, European and Olympic competitions and to enter the GB Academy.
GB Taekwondo recently received confirmation from Sport England that their talent programme would continue to be funded until April 2021.
Head of sports performance at Plymouth Studio School Jon Rhodes said: “We’re extremely proud of Rhys and this great start to 2017 for him.
“Rhys is a prime example of the need for early development and focus on the individual athlete when it comes to creating Olympic champions for the future.
“We’re delighted to be supporting him through our unique sports performance programme which offers young athletes from Year 10 an individual programme of performance training and monitoring within the school timetable, ensuring that they can keep in peak condition for their particular sport without sacrificing their school work.
“It’s this approach which will be key in helping us create the next generation of Olympic athletes for the city.”
Roffey started competing nationally at the age of 10. He began training with the UK ITF Team two years later and is the current English, National and UK champion in the under-16s sparring. He currently also trains with WFT South Hams Martial Arts.
Roffey also recently took silver in the under-16s patterns and bronze in the under-18s sparring at the ITF World Championships in Brighton.
The teenager said: “I went for the assessment in October but wasn’t sure what would happen. I was so excited when we received the letter saying I’d been successful and am through to the next stage of selection, it’s an amazing opportunity and one I’ve been working towards since I was four.
“It’s great being able to incorporate my training into the school day and to combine it with my GCSEs, whilst still being able to follow my Olympic dreams.”
Other Plymouth Studio School students with their eyes firmly on the next Olympics include modern pentathlete Kay Bryson, diver Matt Dixon and women’s rugby player, Lizzy Cole, all of whom have already trained at national level within their age groups.