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Patrick Timoney

Taekwondo champion;

Born: February 7, 1970; Died: November 11, 2012.

Patrick Timoney, who has died aged 42, was a long-time Scotland star in the martial art of taekwondo and the kind of champion who combined great sporting skill with immense reserves of warmth, humour and camaraderie. All of which makes it doubly sad that Paddy – pictured, left, as he was known in his domain – should have collapsed and died of a heart attack at such a young age during a competition in Livingston on Sunday.

The shock which has been felt among his peers, family and allies testifies to a man who was an expert in his pursuit, but also a smashing bloke, in and out of competition. For more than 20 years, he graced his sport, whether as a black belt, who fought in the 1998 World Championship, or a still-prolific competitor, who was the current Scottish and British champion in his specialist discipline.

Originally from Viewpark in North Lanarkshire, he took up the sport when he was 21 and earned his black belt in 1994. Quite simply, he loved taekwondo, and was one of life's natural teachers and mentors to generations of youngsters. When not actively participating, he coached the Scottish team and travelled with them to the European Championships in Slovenia in 2010, in addition to nurturing a rich seam of Glasgow-based talent, whom he accompanied to the World Cup earlier this year. He was also an enthusiastic administrator and served as a board member of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, taking over that role from his wife Jackie.

According to friends, the pair were inseparable from the moment they met at school as 14-year-olds. In his day job, Timoney worked with HMRC in Glasgow, but two or three nights a week, he and Jackie spread the martial arts gospel at their clubs in Riddrie and Easterhouse. The pair had grown up in Uddingston, they both developed a passion for taekwondo from 1990 onwards, and travelled to events and competitions all over their homeland and further afield.

"Paddy started at Coatbridge, just as I was getting involved in Stirling, but even then, he and Jackie were an incredibly close couple and you don't find that sort of bond very often," said Timoney's comrade, Garry Shaw.

It seems cruel that somebody with his innate optimism and irrepressible philosophy should slip away among colleagues struggling frantically to administer CPR, a sad end to a busy career dedicated to his sport. He was part of the Scotland coaching staff in Sweden in 2010, New Zealand in 2011, and always brought his own infectious team spirit with him, which on many occasions, heightened morale.

For the moment, emotions are raw and taekwondo has been shrouded in grief. His colleague, Gordon Wallace, the secretary-general of the ITF, said Timoney was a kind-hearted man who would be missed by fellow lovers of the sport. Nobody has been interested in fighting at the G-Mac gym since Timoney's death.

Mr Shaw said: "Paddy wasn't a sombre individual. It was the opposite with him, he was somebody who always tried to find the positives in things."

Timoney is survived by his wife and their three children.

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