Troy Williams embodies the determination and discipline of Taekwondo.
Now 40, he was drawn to the martial art as a 16-year-old but at 22 he was reeling after a bout of glandular fever triggered cardiac illness, the condition later diagnosed as supraventricular tachycardia.
The racing heart rates often made taekwondo impossible; training could make him faint.
He threw himself into work and other aspects of life, even when aged 32 he had a procedure which curtailed the cardiac symptoms.
But at 35, weighing 142kg, Williams decided enough was enough. He took up running for two years and lost 34kg in the process.
“I’m not proud of how big I became but I worked at getting the weight off and then decided it was time to get back into it,” he said.
Last year, Williams won silver medals at state and national championships in poomsae, a technical competition where the competitor demonstrates a pattern of moves in front of judges.
His elation at the high level mastery he displayed was short-lived.
In November he survived a major car accident outside Sunbury where he slammed into the side of an out-of-control crane.
“My shoulder and back was pretty banged up and the steering column slammed into my knee,” Williams said.
He returned to training two weeks later but has become just as interested in training children learning the sport, attending up to six days a week at a New Gisborne studio.
“I love the discipline, mind-building and life skills involved,” Williams said.
“It helped turn my life around and I want to impart those qualities now.”
Troy Williams has been nominated in the services to sport category for the Leader Local Sports Stars awards.
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