Press Releases 2017

UWTSD Student bidding for place on team GB

26.04.2017

A business student from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is in the running for a place in the first ever GB Taekwondo Para team.

Leif Web

Leif Thobroe from Swansea, suffered a spinal injury during a tackle in a rugby match which left him without the use of his right arm.  Undeterred and wanting to carry on with sport, Leif turned to martial arts to help with his rehabilitation.

Two years later, Leif has been selected by GB Taekwondo to train with them in a series of bootcamps at the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester and is now bidding for his place to compete with the GB team in the World Para Taekwondo Championships in London in October.

As one of only three para athletes to have been chosen for the elite development team, Leif is relishing training alongside the able bodied competitors, including Wales’ very own Olympic gold medallist, Jade Jones.

“I’ve been selected by GB Taekwondo to start training with them with the intention of getting into the GB Paralypic team. I have been up to Manchester three times now and I have started a bootcamp stage where I am attending training sessions every month for the next six months with the intention of getting selected to compete in London in October in the World Para Taekwondo Championships,” says Leif.

If Leif is successful and selected to compete in October it’s likely to lead to him being selected for the 2020 Tokyo games as part of first ever British Taekwondo team to compete in the Paralympics.

GB Takeover

After suffering his injury, Leif decided to return to education and to enrol to study for a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) course at UWTSD.  His studies have been supported by the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust – an organisation that supports players who have been severely injured whilst playing rugby union in Wales.

“I lost the use of my right arm following a rugby injury in February 2015 and now have weekly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions,” says Leif. 

“After my injury I decided to enrol on the MBA at UWTSD.  It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the course, getting very involved in all aspects of student life.  I’m now looking forward to graduating this Summer.”

Members of the teaching staff at Swansea Business School are very proud of Leif and are extremely encouraging as he studies for this highly respected qualification.  His determination has also already led to him securing a position with Indycube in Swansea as the company’s Social Media Manager Intern.

“As a sports enthusiast, Leif clearly tries to put to good use the skills he’s learnt both as a player and coach to motivate and help his peers,” says Jayne Williams, one of Leif’s lecturers.

“Approachable and generous with his time, he is always keen to see what he can do to help the people around him whether that’s in a learning situation or ensuring everyone is included in social events. Fun-loving and with a good sense of humour, Leif is a popular member of this year’s MBA group,” she continues.

Another of Leif’s lecturers, Caroline Jawad adds: “Leif has been an excellent ambassador for the Business School in both his academic studies and extracurricular activities. Leif possesses qualities of strength and influence and has applied these to his studies and those around him during his MBA.

“People like Leif make a difference; he’s a great motivator, creator and dependable - I wish him every success in the future.”

Leif is a student who’s embraced a range of opportunities during his studies.  As well as being the University’s Enterprise and Creative Bubble Intern; a Student Ambassador and a Class Representative, Leif is also a qualified kickboxing coach and has set up a kickboxing society at UWTSD.

“I’ve been kickboxing for nearly five years and after my accident in 2015, kickboxing was my own form of rehabilitation. It got me back onto my feet faster than I could have imagined.

“Eight months after losing the use of my right arm, I competed in the WOMAA British Championships and won a British title in an advanced category, fighting against able bodied fighters. Then I went on to win a silver medal in the European championships.

“After starting my MBA course, I decided I wanted to set up a kickboxing society, allowing students of all abilities to come and have a go. We now have classes on both a Friday and a Sunday which are run in the UWTSD Townhill Campus Sports Hall.  I’m the current captain of the UWTSD Kickboxing society and I will be training and helping to take the classes on both days,” he adds.

From kickboxing instructor to national taekwondo team member – it would be fantastic to see such a strongminded and resolute young man achieve his dream of competing in the next Paralympic games.

The MBA that Leif is studying at Swansea Business School is an internationally respected general management qualification, which enhances the skills and competences of experienced managers, but also provides a launch into a management career for more recent graduates.

The Masters in Business Administration helps improve students’ potential to manage and lead organisations effectively through the development of abilities, knowledge and understanding of a wide range of management skills, ideas and theories.  The programme is designed for students from a wide variety of backgrounds who are seeking international career opportunities through the development of their managerial abilities.

Bootcamp

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476