A British athlete graduating from the University of Sunderland is aiming to kick the competition into touch – once he finally gets back on the mat.

It’s been quite a year for Taekwondo ace Cameron Park.

The 23 year old University of Sunderland student is currently part of the Great Britain National Taekwondo Team, having trained in the martial art for more than a decade.

But the past 18 months have seen the elite athlete unable to compete nationally or internationally due to the pandemic.

But nothing was going to stop the Durham fighter graduating from the University as he prepares kick-off a new chapter in his life.

Cameron, who is graduating from a Sport and Exercise Sciences programme, said: “It’s been an amazing three years, I can’t thank the University enough for the support I’ve received both as an athlete and in my studies.

“Being part of the GB national team has meant I have been able to continue training at the University’s CitySpace building since January, which has been incredible.

“And although I’ve been unable to compete, which is at times frustrating, I have been able to really concentrate on my training schedule, so I feel stronger than ever.”

Cameron was first encouraged to take up the sport by dad John, who also works at the University and has himself been practising since 1984.

“I was about 12 years old when my dad introduced me to Taekwondo, and I loved it straight away.

“I’m a pretty disciplined person and I love getting up in the morning and going to training; it just gives me a real buzz.”

Cameron, who is from Durham and a former pupil at The Academy at Shotton Hall, is now hoping he can return to international competition later this year, once restrictions begin to lift.

But first he is saying goodbye to the University of Sunderland and aiming to embark on a Masters in Physiology in Manchester.

“The GB training base is in Manchester,” he added, “so I will be close to all the facilities while I’m studying.”

But the athlete says he will forever remember his three years with the University of Sunderland.

He added: “The bond I have felt with this University has been unique, I don’t think you get that in other places.”

Cameron is now looking forward to many years of competition ahead of him and aims, when not competing, to still be involved with athletics in some capacity.

Thousands of students are this week marking their graduations and today’s celebration ceremonies can be seen here