Former Matilda great Heather Garriock will start her tenure as CEO of Australian Taekwondo this week with a firm focus on building the taekwondo community.
Garriock is no stranger to leadership having captained Australia, Sydney FC and Western Sydney during her glittering playing career in football. She also has coached for the past six years including being an assistant for the Matildas and a head coach at Canberra United.
Garriock wasted little time in going on the front foot, ensuring the 50,000 participants of the fledgling sport they will be looked after during the current challenges faced by the sporting world.
“These are unprecedented times across our nation and indeed the world, under my leadership, the national office will always be there for the sport and the broader community,” said Garriock in a heartfelt message to the taekwondo community. “The needs of our community must be nurtured and supported and we must have the health and wellbeing of our athletes and members at the forefront of our concerns.
“In particular, my thoughts and well wishes to our Victorian federation, our clubs and our many thousands of members there, who have been most affected by COVID19.
“I am here to help and once the borders open, I hope to visit to personally hear from you all as to how we can rebuild and support your great state.”
Garriock’s new role presents an exciting opportunity for both her and taekwondo which has 300 registered clubs and nearly 15,000 registered members. There are around 500 other clubs that are not officially registered with Australian Taekwondo.
Her appointment has been met with widespread praise with former Olympic champion Lauren Burns and other prominent figures in the sport endorsing her appointment.
Garriock outlined her plans in the coming months as she settles in the role.
“It is my aim to create a new era for Australian Taekwondo - modernising and positioning taekwondo beyond just a sport.
“Over the next few months, I will be spending my time listening and learning with a resolute focus being on communication, community and culture.
“As a priority, we need to commence and build a personal and trusting relationship with all our major stakeholders, clubs and states.
I’d like to establish a yearly calendar of major events, meetings and other activities that we will publish, distribute and update regularly.”
Garriock is also keen to help transition the high participation numbers in the sport into elite level success. Burns‘ 2000 Olympic Gold Medal and Carmon Marton's 2013 World Title are the only major trophies won by Australians.
“We need to continue the development and promulgation of a well-defined ‘pathways’ document for all participants, athletes, coaches and referees.”
The Tokyo 2021 Olympics shapes as the next major event for taekwondo with the likes of Bailey Lewis, Damon Cavey, Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart to name a few flying the flag for Australia. The Paralympic team will be lead by Janine Watson and Steven Currie.