Shepparton was graced with Olympic fighting spirit on Sunday when the Marton sisters showcased their taekwondo talents.
Carmen and Caroline Marton, who competed together at last year’s Rio Games, offered support and advice to the region’s budding stars and black belt competitors at the Koryo Taekwondo Centre.
With more than 50 fighters turning out Caroline, who wanted to be a ballet dancer when she was younger, was pleased with the local talent on display.
‘‘Plenty of children came out to train and both my sister and I love getting out to the regional areas because they have shown us support and now we want to give back,’’ Caroline said.
‘‘If we can teach them one thing, it is to believe in your dreams and we did see a lot of talented fighters in Shepparton who should continue to believe.’’
Caroline was part of a family affair at Rio joining Carmen and her husband, Safwan Khalil, in representing the green and gold while her brother was also there as part of the reserve team.
‘‘It was a special occasion, I had gotten so close to the Olympics in 2012, but then to finally make it with everyone there was fantastic,’’ Caroline said.
Meanwhile, Carmen, 33, who is Australia’s first world taekwondo champion, said it was an amazing experience to train alongside her younger sister.
‘‘We have always been competitive and it is fair to say that our training always was, too,’’ Caroline said.
‘‘In saying that, it is great to be competitive and have the desire and want to be better at whatever you do.’’
Koryo Taekwondo Centre owner and trainer Sammy Rachele was thrilled with the turnout on Sunday.
‘‘We had heaps of numbers come through and it was good to see because these are high-class athletes,’’ Rachele said.
‘‘It was a really, really good day, we fitted in heaps of kids and by the looks of things everyone seemed to get something out of it.’’
It is not often the region’s budding stars are exposed to such athletes unless you fight competitively, and Rachele felt such events brought great exposure to the sport.
‘‘It was just a brilliant weekend for the kids that don’t get to see the likes of Carmen and Caroline, they are Olympians and world champions,’’ Rachele said.
‘‘For some of our kids to learn and experience the best is great for their development.’’
Rachele has grand plans for the future and did not rule out having the duo return to Shepparton, whether it be for national camps or running clinics.