AN athlete from St Clears is hoping that the first fully integrated event in his sport will increase participation.

Matt Bush, 34, started as a Brazilian Jujitsu fighter before making the switch to Taekwondo. In 2018, the GB Taekwondo star became the first male Para Taekwondo athlete to win a World Championship for Britain.

He will be taking part in the upcoming Manchester Grand Prix and is hoping that this event – which is fully integrated for the first time to include para and non-para athletes – will help to inspire more people to get involved in the sport as it will give an opportunity for attendees to watch the world’s best para athletes.

Matt said: “I think GB Taekwondo have always wanted integrated para events and have always been pushing for it.

“It does just make sense, we are a division within the sport and it doesn’t have to be a whole separate thing.

“It is slightly different for everyone involved but it is just way better to have everything together it just makes sense.

“We are a team here so we all train together, all the different weights. We eat in the same kitchen, we spend a lot of time together but were then going to competitions separately.”

Speaking on the event being on home soil, he continued: “Having major events on home soil has a broader impact on getting people into the sport and raising awareness for it. It is one of those things where you see it every four years and everyone enjoys it when they watch it at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but it is giving them an opportunity to have more of an idea of what is going on and you can follow individuals and see how they develop in those four years between games.

“It helps people to gain context on the big stage of who is doing what, what they have gone through, how they like to fight and it helps them to be a bit more informed and it will be more enjoyable.

“It has to help to encourage people to try the sport for the first time, if you don’t see the sport and you don’t know it is there you will never think to try it.

“Any sort of exposure like that is going to lead to more chance for more people taking it up and there is a whole system ready to go if you do start excelling at it. Not everyone will want to be an elite athlete so it’s just as important they can take part in the sport for fun and to be active, but the opportunity is there.

“The programme is properly funded with everything in place, so if there are people out there who are ready to do it, just get involved. You never know within a year or two you could be flying.”

The World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final 2023 will be held in Manchester between Friday, December 1 and Sunday, December 3. Find out more at