Elgin trio grab Euro glory in Estonia
Veterans Andy Smith (40), from Lhanbryde and Elgin pair Andy Adam (43) and Brian Johnson (50), all long-serving members of the Elgin School of Taekwon-do run by Grandmaster John Williamson, did their club proud in Tallinn, Estonia last month.
Council IT worker Adam, who has claimed a clutch of world and European titles in his 30-year career in the sport, won three medals in his first competition in 18 months since breaking his leg in training.
Scottish Gas operations manager Johnson took a gold, silver and two bronze in his first-ever European Championships.
Best Scottish individual haul of all was the five medals including two golds won by machine shop supervisor Smith in only his second full international appearance for his country.
Adam, a 5th Dan, was also team captain and assistant coach, and proud of his colleagues efforts as well as his own remarkable comeback from an injury which threatened his career.
"Twelve months previously I was still in a cast and having to use crutches to get around," he said. "I didn't have any guarantees of ever competing again or have any time frame on a return."
He came up with his own rehabilitation plan and after a long recovery process he returned to training late last year – though the Euros looked beyond him.
"If these guys hadn't been in the team I probably wouldn't have done it," he said. "I was aiming for the worlds and I thought this one would be too soon."
He led Scotland to a team power gold and team sparring bronze, and reached the final of the individual patterns where he had to settle for silver against a tough Russian opponent.
3rd Dan Johnson's international debut was memorable in the gold veteran division (50+). As well as his team gold and bronze with his Elgin colleagues, he took silver in individual patterns and bronze in sparring.
"It was the first time I have entered a European competition so it was a real eye-opener both mentally and physically," he said.
Smith won individual gold in patterns to add to his team gold, and won bronze in power and sparring as well as team sparring. "This is the first time I have medalled on the full international stage. It was team gold which meant the most." he said.
That win came down to a tiebreaker with Johnson smashing the boards with a knife-hand manoeuvre to pip the Czech Republic.
The trio, who train religiously at Elgin Community Centre every week, are targeting August's world championships in Belarus.