Donette Gates-Day: former British Champion & Great Britain Team Member
Donette (far right of picture) on the podium to collect Bronze at the Open Championship in Turkey
Donette started training in 1974 and along with her older sister and two of her brothers, she exhibited fine abilty in Taekwondo, with both Donette and brother Lee being selected to represent their country as fighters with the GB team.
Donette with the Great Britain Team (front row, third from right)
Along with younger brother Wayne, she went on to become British Champion at the BTCB championships and excelled as both fighter and technical competitor, winning British titles in both disciplines, a unique double for any martial artist.
This photo of the GB Team included a number of Brotherhood members: back row: George Prowse, John Ingram (4th & 5th from left), Chris Sawyerr & Lindsay Lawrence (4th from right and far right). front row: Sean Daly & Donette Gates (2nd & 4th from left)
Donette, following her Bronze medal win for Great Britain, with British Team Coach, Master Y.S.Chung
below: Donette turns her skills inside the ring to coach some of her young fighters
Whilst training consistantly since 1974, she still found time to raise a family of five (5), although the opportunity to grade was somewhat restricted as a result. All her children have, fortunately, shown great interest in her chosen art, along with husband, Martin.
above: a slightly blurred photo of Donette during a Brotherhood demo. (c.1984). Tthe boards used were typically 1 inch thick and the second target (right of photo) appears to consist of 2 boards (i.e. two inches thick).
Training weekly alongside the likes of Lindsay Lawrence (3 x World medallist & 2 x European Champion), Chris Sawyerr (1988 Olympian & European Champion), together with many GB Champions and GB team members, such as Sean Daly, Ebe Ghansah, Graham Rance, Mick Sutherland, Con Halpin & Hyron Thompson, gave her the perfect grounding in sport Taekwondo. It was proof also that the ladies were able to compete & train on an equal basis with the men and Donette was a prominent member of the great Brotherhood teams of the 1980's.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a gold medal at the 1982 British Championships (Coventry), where she claimed 2nd place, she took Gold the following year. As a result of these wins, she was selected to fight for Great Britain at a multi-nation championships held in Turkey in 1983 and fought through to a bronze medal win.
Consequently, she was selected for the Great Britain team for the 1983 World Championships, only to find that due to a lack of funding, the Womens team were not to be sent. However, this never dampened her appetite for training or competition and she continues to train alongside her students to this day.
In 1985 she was invited to feature on David Mitchell's* book on TKD, called 'Official WTF Taekwondo' and did some of the cover shots for the book. Sharp eyed observers will note that she also appears on the 'Official Karate' book cover (see below), as the original model failed to show! *(David Mitchell is the former Chairman of the Martial Arts Commission).
above: Donette was chosen to feature on the cover of the 'Official WTF Taekwondo' book in 1985. Although she was a black belt at the time, the photographer thought a red belt would stand out better on the pictures' dark background!
Competition History: ~
1982 - Silver
1983 - Gold
1984 - Bronze
London Open Championships
above: Donette featured with Chris Sawyerr (European Champion and 1988 Olympian) in this newspaper article from 1987.
British Championships results:
4th Dan - 2007 (BTCB Dan Grading panel, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire)
3rd Dan - 2004 (Grand Master Park Soo Nam, Sheffield, Yorkshire)
2nd Dan - 2001 (Grand Master Park Soo Nam, Nottinghamshire)
1st Dan - 1982 (Master A. Quigley, Doncaster, Yorkshire)
above: Donette is presented with her most recent Kukkiwon certificate by fellow instructors (left to right) Kevin George, Wayne Gates & Con Halpin.
above: Donette at her 4th dan grading with (centre) Master John Blairs 7th Dan.
Donette's emphasis, apart from raising five children, has been on training rather than grading, hence the infrequency of grading until recent years. More recently, she has been encouraged to follow the advice of the senior grades of the Brotherhood and has put herself forward for grade testing.
Donette now teaches both childrens and adults classes, whilst still continuing to train herself. Many years of training with some of the best practitioners of all aspects of TKD, has given her unparrelled experience to pass onto students.