in ,

Taekwondo La Línea: The Champion Factory

Soraya Fernández · Photos: Fran Montes

Seul Gym @Fran Montes

La Línea also makes the headlines for positive reasons. Club Seúl Gym Hércules has become the youth academy of medal winners that sweep the board in taekwondo competitions.

Sacrifice, dedication, and vocation. These are the common denominators of the members of the taekwondo team that has been training for years at the Seúl Club – Hércules Gym in La Línea and they are gathering medals and victories wherever they compete.

Its founder, Francisco Téllez, president of the club and coach, and who everyone calls “maestro” (master), has been involved in this project for 45 years.

Seul Gym Taekwondo @Fran Montes

The club teaches federation taekwondo as recognised by the (Spanish) National Sports’ Council. Seúl Club – Hércules Gym has 150 affiliated athletes and students in La Línea and Algeciras, with ages ranging from three to seventy.

His team made a clean sweep winning 13 gold medals in the Campeonato de Andalucía de Técnica (Andalusian Championship of Taekwondo Technique) held a few days ago in Seville.

The team includes the siblings Alba and Fran Téllez, last year’s world runners-up; Marta Kirkpatrick, a previous Spanish champion; José Carlos López, Laura Iglesias, José Manuel Ñeco, Carla María Rodríguez, and Mohamed Ouad.

Seul Gym Taekwondo @Fran Montes

There is a lot of effort behind each medal. Taekwondo is a very intense sport requiring a great deal of dedication and those who want to compete must train hard. This is borne out when talking to these champions, who despite their youth, already know the meaning of sacrifice and the will to excel.

They all train for four hours a day. They go to the club every day in the evenings and study when they finish their training. They must have an extremely balanced diet which doesn’t allow deviation and live a very healthy lifestyle.

They sacrifice their hours of fun, going to the cinema, and outings with friends for what is their true calling, thus becoming role models for the teenagers and young people of La Linea.

Seul Gym Taekwondo @Fran Montes

The Téllez siblings are the standard leaders for the rest of the group’s athletes as they are already veterans. They are the coach’s children and they train other future champions.

Alba is 29 years old. She finished her studies as Physical Education teacher and has a degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences: “No chocolate, and no McDonalds…. studying at dawn and many hours of sleep have been the story of our lives of training and competition but of can be done.”

“No chocolate, and no McDonalds…. studying at dawn and many hours of sleep have been the story of our lives of training and competition but of can be done.”

Seul Gym Taekwondo @Fran Montes

Her brother Fran recognises that he is achieving his dream and his goal is to participate in the Olympics alongside his sister.

Marta Kirkpatrick was Spanish champion at just 12 years of age, and now at 14, her triumphs continue. “I really enjoy this sport. I miss out going out with my friends and I spend less time with them but it’s worth it because I love taekwondo,” she says.

Among the adult category members of the club is another exemplary athlete, Desirée Márquez, who also teaches classes and has twice been world number three. She started at seven and is now 40. “This gives me life”, she tells us during a training session that she attends without qualms despite being injured. Her daughter Laura is also in the team.

Seul Gym Taekwondo @Fran Montes

The club coach and president is very proud of his team: “It is true that we win many competitions, but the medals we win are not gifts. They are the result of great efforts.”

What do you think?