Cdt Cpl Thomas Leatherland of 2425 (Nottingham Airport) Sqn Royal Air Force Air Cadets recently represented England in the poomsae section of the Commonwealth Taekwondo
Championships in Edinburgh, where he succeeded in winning 2 silver and 1 gold medal. Thomas, a 4th Dan black belt has been training for 10 years at his local Taekwondo club in Nottingham. Thomas’ development at his club and competition success saw him selected to the GB squad. This has led him to compete internationally in Finland, Austria and Germany and in 2013 he was selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Spain.
Membership of the Air cadets has helped Thomas in numerous ways. The regular sports and outdoor activities within the Sqn programme have helped Thomas continue to develop a high level of fitness which is vital to maintain the ability to compete at this high level. The general focus that cadets develops on self reliance and self discipline is something that has helped develop Thomas’ mental strength to focus on his training and maintaining his performance levels. This strength and bearing has allowed him to successfully attract support from local councils towards his training costs in the form of their Elite Athlete sponsorship grant, and Rising Stars grant.
Thomas reported that ‘it feels great to achieve these medals and I am so grateful for the opportunity to represent England. I feel being in the Air Cadets has helped me develop the self discipline and focus I needed personally to achieve this. All my mates on the Sqn have helped me too by encouraging me when the going got tough in the competitions.’
Flt Lt R Frost RAFVR (T)