A 10-TIME British Taekwondo champion who has led Team GB for an impressive 16 years has been awarded an MBE for services to the sport.

Gary Hall, who is from Stoke-on-Trent but lives in Bowdon, became the Performance Director of Taekwondo GB back in 2006.

At the time, and over the course of Gary's career as a competitor beforehand, the sport was not seen as a priority in this country.

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The team used a warehouse in Beswick to train with no staff to support them.

But now fast forward to 2022 and there is a dedicated Taekwondo Centre in Newton Heath, which is also open to the community.

This development has had its impact on the team, which boasts a one-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion in Jade Jones, plus other world champions and Olympic medallists in Bianca Walkden and Bradly Sinden.

Walkden won all the Grand Prix events in a season around five years ago, becoming the first competitor, male or female, to achieve this.

Accessibility is also important to Gary, who is a believer in the idea ability should be allowed to shine through regardless of background.

He set up a team for the Paralympics, which won two medals at Tokyo 2020.

It is for all these achievements and a lot more he has been awarded an MBE.

READ MORE: Sale mum awarded British Empire Medal in Queen's Birthday Honours.

Speaking in Rome ahead of a Grand Prix event with implications for Paris 2024, Gary said: "I'm proud to receive this award. It comes as a surprise, but a pleasant one.

"It's not something you start out to do, to be awarded. My wife, Tracey, and my two sons have made some significant sacrifices. I couldn't have done it without them."

Gary also dedicated the award to John Blairs, who coached him in Taekwondo from the age of 10.