Penistone’s Mike McKenzie is already plotting taekwondo success for his students at future Olympic Games after being nominated for a prestigious prize at the UK Coaching Awards in Marble Arch last week.
McKenzie, 45, rubbed shoulders at the glittering ceremony with British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland and four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie.
He was nominated for the Community Coach of the Year Award, in celebration of his tireless efforts training the next crop of taekwondo-mad youngsters across South Yorkshire and beyond.
And McKenzie, who founded sports club Quest Taekwondo and also works for British Taekwondo, is not planning on putting his feet up any time soon.
“The most rewarding thing is seeing the kids’ success and helping them achieve their potential, whatever it is,” he said.
“We’re talking about children from four-years-old to international athletes to my eldest student who is 73 so we go across all the age ranges, and just seeing them achieve their potential is the greatest satisfaction.
“Jacob Barnett from was a member of the junior European team this year and hopefully he’ll make it for Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve got six or seven athletes in the Great Britain talent stream so hopefully we should have some involvement for Rio in 2016 or Tokyo four years later.”
McKenzie and Gatland, who won the UK Coach of the Year Award, were nominees for 12 categories on the night as achievements in developing sport in a wide community over the past year were recognised.
But McKenzie admits he is no stranger to the big stage after being in the thick of London 2012.
“The awards have been brilliant, it’s a great experience,” he added. “Taekwondo is a minority sport but we’ve had a lot of success at the higher levels.
“Last year I was sport manager in charge of taekwondo for the Olympic Games so it’s nice to have continued involvement in the high level sports.
“A lot of us who worked at the Olympics and last year were worried about the post-Olympic blues, but it’s great that British coaching is still so successful and British sport is still so successful.”
* The 2013 Gillette Great Starts’ campaign celebrates community coaches and inspires the next generation of coaches by providing them with grants to fund their next level qualifications. Applications for coaching grants available through the scheme will reopen in 2014, visit www.facebook/com/GilletteUK for more details.