Kiwi special needs taekwondo team to take on the world

Taekwondo practitioner Johann Landkroon
Taekwondo practitioner Johann Landkroon

A group of taekwondo enthusiasts from Hawke's Bay are today travelling to the other side of the world to take part in an historic championship in England.

What makes this group different, though, is that the members have a range of disabilities such as autism, down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome.

The team coach and manager Ben Evans told Newshub the event will be life-changing for the team, who have been working hard towards the goal of taking part in the Taekwondo Federation World Championships.

"The team is unique because it will open up the eyes of those in countries who might shun their special needs students away. This event in itself is proving that they are just as capable as anyone else," says Mr Evans.

Team member Johann Landkroon has become a bit of an online celebrity with taekwondo fans around the world, following his journey from beginner to black belt.

He travelled to Korea in 2011 to demonstrate his abilities.

The championships take place in Brighton next week.