By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Tameside’s Michael Harvey continues his quest for Olympic selection at SportsCity in May after being selected for Team GB’s European Championship taekwondo squad.
Harvey, who spent his early years in Droylsden before his family moved to Mottram, will be Great Britain’s representative in the -63kg weight band.
His ultimate goal however remains this summer’s London 2012 Olympics in the -68kgs.
He said: “It’s always great to be picked for the major tournaments. I’m really happy. I’m looking forward to competing in such a big tournament in Manchester.”
Harvey is in a four-way shootout for the sole Olympic spot with fellow Mancunian Jordan Gayle, Tony Grisman and Martin Stamper.
“Everyone is still working hard in training and putting in 100%. We all want the same thing and will keep going."
The European Championships (being held at the Regional Arena on May 3-6) is the first major international tournament to be held on British shores. Michael believes this is testament both to the sport’s growing popularity with spectators and the success of the national team.
“It definitely shows that taekwondo has grown as a sport here. I think how well the GB team have done recently helps.”
“We have so many good players now, we have a really strong team – results have shown that, especially over the past year. I don’t remember a time when the squad was as strong as it is now.”
“Our success is down to the backing we receive, and the hard work everyone puts in here. To have a really good set up like we have here can only help.”
Harvey’s joy however means there is no place in the squad for Stretford’s Gayle, who has not been selected.
As with the Olympics, only one place per weight band was available for selectors to allocate a fighter with and, despite winning -63kg gold at the Dutch Open last month, Jordan has missed out.
“It’s not the best feeling in the world being overlooked. I’ve taken knocks before though and got through. These things happen in sport. “
“It’s disappointing to miss out on performing in front of a home crowd.”
He is competing in Belgium this weekend and still retains hopes of Olympic selection.
You can still buy tickets for the European Championships to cheer Michael and the rest of the 15-strong Team GB squad on. Adults can get in for £11 with children’s seats costing £6. A special family ticket for two adults and two kids costs £28, meaning one child enters free. Tickets are available via www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 0844 844 0444.
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