Thomas Middlecott Academy, Kirton, makes no secret of its pride in ex-student Megan Featherstone (16) as she makes her assault on becoming the best taekwondo player in the world, with her sights set on Olympic gold at Tokyo in 2020.
Julia Polley, principal of Thomas Middlecott Academy, said: “We believe it is important to support and nurture the talents of our students and we worked closely with Megan to balance her school work and training. I’m very proud of Megan because she is a fantastic example of a student who puts her all into everything she does.”
I’m very proud of Megan Featherstone because she is a fantastic example of a student who puts her all into everything she doesJulia Polley, principal of Thomas Middlecott Academy, Kirton
Some people have mistakenly believed that Megan of Amber Hill, near Boston, is already a taekwondo success story because of her striking resemblance to both 2012 Olympic -57kg gold medallist Jade Jones and reigning +73kg world champion Bianca Walkden.
Megan said: “Whenever I’m at a tournament abroad, I get mistaken for Jade or Bianca. I’ve had chance to train with them and learned so many different tactics, but I really look up to Aaron Cook (former GB player who now fights for Moldova) because he’s inspirational in what he does.”
Megan suffered a setback recently when toe ligament damage kept her out of the sport for four months.
Jason Featherstone, Megan’s dad who runs the Quest Taekwondo Club in Boston, said: “She was doing a lot of in-water training to put the minimum amount of weight on her feet. Now she’s had the toe ligament operation, we can look at rebuilding her fitness and building the ankles up without putting pressure on the toe.”
Megan’s taekwondo journey started as a four-year-old when she took up karate after encouragement from her dad. Then she made the switch from karate to taekwondo when the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games made household names out of Cook and bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson.
Motivated by her parents, Megan made swift progress in taekwondo and achieved the coveted black belt in March 2013. A call-up to the GB Taekwondo development squad was then to change her life.
Megan took up taekwondo full-time just over three years ago and last year won gold at the British International Open, competed in the GB demonstration team at the Manchester Grand Prix, and won bronze at the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships in Edinburgh.
“It was a great honour to fight for England in Edinburgh,” Megan said.
This year Megan has trained with an elite South Korean junior squad, one of just seven girls to do so, reached the quarter-finals of the Dutch Open and won gold at the International Taekwondo Championships in Switzerland. She is hoping to make her competitive comeback at next year’s Dutch Open.