UCLan Sport Studies student Stefan Orlando has targeted success on the world stage after winning gold at the recent GTI Taekwondo English Open.
Since taking up the sport just over ten years ago, Stefan has risen up the ranks to become one of the top players in his class in Great Britain.
The Carlisle athlete competes at Lightweight under International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) rules. This is widely recognised as the original and authentic version of the sport.
Stefan commented: "I'm delighted to have won the English Open. I've been competing in internationals since I was 15 and have always had a natural flair for Taekwando.
"I took up the sport aged eight, won my black belt at 14 and became a 3rd Dan by the time I was 19 – this was quite an achievement for someone so young."
Whilst World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) competition has come to prominence through its inclusion as an Olympic sport, Stefan says ITF is a much higher level.
"WTF tends to be a little bit more commercialised – perhaps more of a skills exhibition rather than the real thing," he said. "There are people competing in ITF who would 'school' some of the top names in the WTF.
"My ultimate aim is to compete and win gold at the ITF World Championships, but I wouldn't have got to the level I have without the support of my parents. They constantly support me financially when it comes to entering competitions, so like many other sports people I'd welcome any offers of sponsorship!"
In addition to his sporting ambitions, Stefan is hoping his undergraduate studies will enable him to pursue a career in teaching or coaching.
"My main reason for joining the UCLan Sports Studies programme was to develop my knowledge so I could pass my skills onto others," said Stefan. "This course sets me up perfectly for that – whether I go into PE teaching or not, it gives you the option to do that so I'm really glad I chose UCLan."