Olympic champ Sarah Stevenson to get Freedom of Doncaster

Sarah Stevenson.
Sarah Stevenson.

Doncaster taekwondo champ and Olympic medallist Sarah Stevenson MBE will receive the Freedom of the Borough next week.

Sarah will be presented with a framed hand painted scroll at a special ceremony in the Mansion House at 1.30p on Monday, which will also be attended by Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, the Civic Mayor Eddie Dobbs and Jo Miller, Doncaster Council Chief Executive.

A former pupil at Don Valley High School, Sarah became Junior World Taekwondo Champion in 1998 at the age of 13 and two years later, became Senior World Champion, overcoming more experienced athletes to achieve this goal. She repeated this victory in 2005 and 2011 and has been Junior and Senior European Champion for over a decade.

At just 17, Sarah was the first female to represent the Great Britain Taekwondo Team at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Despite a debilitating knee injury and the sad loss of both parents in 2011, she led the GB Taekwondo Team at the London 2012 Olympics.

Sarah received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and the MBE in 2012.

Currently she is involved in the Battle for Brazil initiative, identifying talented young people to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and is a member of the Olympic Taekwondo Coaching Squad.

She is also very involved in charity work, actively supporting Grief Encounter, which is dedicated to helping families address issues caused by bereavement; Balls to Cancer, a charity that is researching causes of male cancer, St John’s Hospice and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

Mayor Jones said: “I have followed Sarah’s career with interest over the years and there is no doubt that she is a great ambassador for Doncaster and a role model for our young people. Her fantastic work for several local charities also deserves recognition.

“She has achieved so much in the field of taekwondo and the profile of the sport across Britain has been raised as a direct result of her success. I’m sure I was not the only Doncaster resident who watched on with pride as Sarah stood before an international audience to recite the Athlete Oath at the opening ceremony at the Olympics.”

Civic Mayor Eddie Dobbs said: “It is a privilege to be part of the ceremony to honour Sarah with the Freedom of the Borough.

“She is an inspiration for young people, an ambassador for sport to local schools and martial arts clubs across Doncaster and is truly a worthy recipient of this recognition.”