Skip to main content

It looks like you have JavaScript turned off

Pretty much everything should work. But you may find some components look slightly off as a result. You can find out what JavaScript is here. If you don't have JavaScript turned off, or if something doesn't work that you think should do, please get in touch.

News: Angel fights for title of Spe­cial Needs Taek­won-Do World Champion

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Angel and Sally Stevens at Basford campus
Angel and Sally Stevens at Basford campus

A student studying a supported learning course at Nottingham College is succeeding against the odds, as she competes for the title of World Champion in the Special Needs Taekwondo Games in New Zealand later this year.

Six­teen-year-old Angel Stevens, from East­wood, was fos­tered by her great-aunt, Sal­ly Stevens, along with her two sis­ters, 14 years ago, due to per­son­al cir­cum­stances. Angel has dealt with chal­lenges all her life. She was born with the rare con­di­tion Foetal Val­proate Syn­drome. As a result, Angel expe­ri­ences speech and learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. She also has sco­l­io­sis (cur­va­ture of the spine); abnor­mal­i­ties of skull for­ma­tion; and she’s on the autis­tic spectrum.

Despite these dif­fi­cul­ties, and with the sup­port of her fos­ter par­ents Sal­ly and Andy, Angel has found a real pas­sion for Taek­won-Do and has been attend­ing a main­stream class since the age of just three. 

Fos­ter mum, Sal­ly, who is also Angel’s coach, explains: Taek­won-Do has been part of my life for over 25 years. My two sons are both five times world cham­pi­ons and my fos­ter daugh­ter, Ker­ryanne Stevens, is also a world cham­pi­on. We have 13 black belts between us in our fam­i­ly, includ­ing myself and my hus­band. Angel took an imme­di­ate inter­est in the sport and she gets so much out of it, both phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly, we’re so proud of her.” 

Due to a lack of spe­cial needs Taek­won-Do organ­i­sa­tions in the UK, Angel has always been a mem­ber of a main­stream class, but when Sal­ly heard that the Spe­cial Needs Taek­won-Do Games was com­ing to Brighton back in 2016 she emailed the organ­is­ers to ask if Angel could take part. 

Sal­ly explains: It was an oppor­tu­ni­ty that I didn’t want Angel to miss out on. It turned out that she was the only girl com­pet­ing, but she exceed­ed all expec­ta­tions and took away the gold medal. When she com­petes in Octo­ber she’ll be fight­ing to keep her title of World Champion. 

Tak­ing Angel to New Zealand is an hon­our and a priv­i­lege. She has worked and trained so hard and it’s a real achieve­ment. She has had a lot of set­backs but has now found joy and suc­cess through sport. 

I would encour­age any­one, whether they have spe­cial needs or not, to get active and try new things. If you work hard and want some­thing enough, you real­ly can achieve anything.” 

Angel is very excit­ed about her trip to New Zealand. She said:

I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing the friends I made back in 2016 in Brighton. Taek­won­do makes me so hap­py. If I’ve had a bad day it calms me down and cheers me up. I am excit­ed to take part in the com­pe­ti­tion and I hope to bring back the gold medal because I want to be a champion! 

 — Angel Stevens
Angel with her 2016 Gold medal

This is Angel’s sec­ond year at Not­ting­ham Col­lege, where she stud­ies a sup­port­ed learn­ing, Entry Lev­el 3 course, aimed at stu­dents with learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and/​or dis­abil­i­ties (SLDD). Her Per­son­al Tutor, Zubia Haque, said:

Dur­ing the time that Angel has been with us, she has not only grown in con­fi­dence, but she also shows fan­tas­tic resilience dur­ing each task and chal­lenge she is giv­en. Myself and the oth­er SLDD staff mem­bers are very proud of her achieve­ments. She puts a lot of time and effort into train­ing for her Taek­won­do class­es and com­pe­ti­tions, and now the hard work has paid off. We wish her all the very best in the Taek­won­do games, and hope that she has a fan­tas­tic time in New Zealand.” 

Angel is one of many com­peti­tors from across the world tak­ing part in New Zealand on the 5th Octo­ber, but she is the only com­peti­tor from the UK

The fam­i­ly are in the process of rais­ing mon­ey to help fund the trip, includ­ing kit, trav­el, and accom­mo­da­tion. To donate, please vis­it their Just Giv­ing page.

Published on:
  • 9th May 2019 (2:19 PM)
Media enquiries

If you are a journalist and would like to contact us about this news story, our PR and Communications team will be happy to assist you.

Contact our PR team View more news stories