Australian Taekwondo's Performance Pathway Program came to Victoria last weekend for the final training and identification camp for 2021.
With covid restrictions easing across the country, the past six weeks has seen sessions run in New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria with 220 athletes attending across the three sessions.
Australian Taekwondo's National Performance Pathway Lead, Ali Khalil, is pleased to see the Performance Pathway Program grow in popularity and the role it's playing in developing young talent.
"I don't remember the last time we had numbers like this. I think people are starting to see the advantages and what the Performance Pathway Program represents, which is inclusiveness," said Khalil.
"I think when we first released the Performance Pathway Program it was automatically assumed, because of past programs, that it's a process of elimination: you attend an ID camp, athletes get identified, and the rest go home and train with their clubs. This is no longer the case."
"The Performance Pathway Program is very different; not only are we identifying athletes by providing more resources to help fast track their development, but we're also continuing the development of every single athlete that wants to be involved. That is the driving difference with this program from those of the past."
Each training and identification camp brings all athletes together for a development session, allowing different calibres, age groups, and clubs to share their experiences and knowledge with some of the best coaches in their state. The sessions also enable coaches to identify athletes ready for that extra level of training and become part of the Performance Pathway Program.
"Moving forward, we'd like to see the athletes that attended, and others, come together at least once a month in their state for regular development sessions," said Khalil.
"For those athletes who are identified, the expectation becomes that they're training with a group at least once a week, with two strength and conditioning sessions and two taekwondo sessions available for them, in addition to their club training program."
The long-term focus is to reduce the gap that currently exists between high performance and club level taekwondo.
"There is a huge gap between high performance and club level taekwondo at the moment. We are working to reduce the gap between high performance and development athletes, increase the level of participation, increase coaching expertise, and increase the level of development for younger athletes."
It is hoped that a training and identification camp will run in Western Australia in the first half of 2022. There are also plans to see future sessions for the Australian Capital Territory run independently from those in New South Wales.
The pathway for an individual athlete can vary, and no two athletes are alike. The Performance Pathway Program seeks to provide positive development opportunities for all athletes within a supportive and holistic environment.
For further information about Australian Taekwondo's Performance Pathway Program, please click here.