UTA World Championships Report
UTA World Championships Report
On Monday 25th July 2016, after months of hard training and preparation, seven members of the UTA Squad and two accompanying UTA coaches made their way to the ITF World Championships in Brighton.
For all but one of the contenders it was their first taste of international competition in what would prove to be the biggest, best and most successful ITF World Championships to date with 45 Countries and over 1000 competitors.
Monday night was a chance to soak up the atmosphere around the area, stroll along the sea front and get familiar with the competition, evident by the sheer number of people walking around in track suits.
Tuesday morning brought with it the competitors' weighing in and registration, which meant a couple of our students taking a strategic late breakfast to ensure their weights were made. This gave a real insight of what was to come just by seeing the amount of competitors gathering outside the conference centre.
Thankfully all competitors made their weights and normal food consumption could resume.
After weigh in and breakfast the UTA coaches and competitors met up for some light training on the green at Regency Square overlooking the sea.
This proved to be a popular location, with fellow competitors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal practicing alongside us.
After training the UTA Squad met up and spent the afternoon to have lunch and enjoy some time around the area and on the Pier….some also hunted Pokemon!
The evening would see all those involved converging on the competition venue (Brighton Conference Centre) for the opening ceremony.
Before the ceremony started the eagerly anticipated competition draw and competing schedule was released, and the anticipation and excitement reached a crescendo. The opening ceromony was very entertaining, well planned and well executed with entertainment from dance group Flawless (finalists on Britain’s Got Talent 2009), King Edmund Acro Gymnastics and The Voice 2013 runner up Leah McFall.
The entertainment was followed by the flag ceremony, student and umpire Oath, speeches from the Mayor of Brighton, ITF President Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa & Vice President Grand Master Trevor Nichols.
Wednesday (Competition Day 1)
An early start for all as we had to be at the venue by 08:30 to get our seats, for those competing to get settled, prepared and to get our first sight of the competing arena.
The first student to compete from UTA was Kat Bowers in patterns against an American in the Semi Final. Kat chose Gae Baek as choice pattern and was given the same as designated pattern. Kat put all the pressure to one side and was victorious, making her way comfortably to the final.
In the Final she was against an Irish challenger, again her choice of pattern was Gae-Baek and designated pattern was Dan Gun. Once again Kat beat any nerves she may have had and used the adrenaline to outperform her opponent and become a world champion.
Next for Kat after a while in the warm up area was sparring, where she was to face a Canadian in the Semi Final, unfortunately Kat couldn’t find her way past the Canadian despite putting in a great effort and sparring well and was awarded a Bronze medal.
Also on Day 1 we had Vikram Lehil, Simon Bowers & Leighton Callahan.
Vikram met a Canadian in the final of the Sparring, Vikran dominated the fight from the start and never gave his opponent a chance to settle & went on to become the divisions World Champion.
Leighton Callahan has a tough fight against an opponent from Kyrgyzstan.
Though he wasn’t to be victorious on this occasion Leighton fought extremely well putting his opponent under lots of pressure and made sure that all his hard work & training up to the competition was put to use.
Simon Bowers was up against the current European champion & extremely tough opponent from Ireland in the final of the sparring. Though Simon started well & got some well-earned points early on it wasn’t to be his time as the Irishman’s experience was to see him take the title & Simon the Silver medal.
Thursday (Competition Day 2)
Day 2 we had Elliott Callahan, Lewis Lavery & Vikram Lehil competing.
Vikram started the day for the UTA students with Power, with a category of 11 Vikram dominated by breaking all boards and winning another Gold.
Elliott was up next in a tough category for patterns that would see him through for rounds to take the title as World Champion !!
Elliott first beat an American by doing Ko-Dang as choice & Hwa Rang as designated.
Next would see an all Englishman round, again Ko-Dang as choice & Po-Eun as designated.
The Semi Final was against a Malaysian with Ko-Dang as choice & Do-San as designated.
It was an experienced Argentinian in the final who had taken the title in Rome in 2014. Again with K0-Dang as choice and Po-Eun as designated, it was all level meaning that another pattern would be chosen for the pair to perform. The pattern was Eui-Am…… Elliott produced another quality display of power & technique to become World Champion.
Later in the day Elliott would face an opponent from Uzbekistan in the final of the sparring. Elliott was to find himself trailing after the first round but had started to find flaws in his opponents style & method. Elliott took control in the second half of a tough fight & started pulling back the scoring immediately to overturn the scoreboard and become World Champion.
Lewis was in a tough category for sparring and first up for Lewis was an American. Though it was a bit of a scrappy fight at times Lewis dominated the scoring from early on and would win with all judges in his favour.
Next up was a big Australian that would take a strategic fight. Though he was trailing at the end of the first half, the strategy paid off with fitness and kicking ability proving to be key to a well-earned victory.
In the quarter final Lewis was to come up against an Italian in an extremely tough fight. The Italian had a convincing lead at the end of the first half, but Lewis fought hard in the second round to pull the scoring back and the match flipped to a draw in the last seconds of the second half taking it into extra time.
Lewis took an early lead in extra time but the Italian pulled it back and snatched victory again with less than 5 seconds remaining.
The Italian would later go on to become World Champion.
Friday (Competition Day 3)
Day 3 we had Adam Jones & Lewis Lavery competing both in Power.
First up was Lewis in a category of 21. Though Lewis put in a good performance he would finish a very respectable 5th place missing out on a medal by 4 points (2 boards).
Adam was called late afternoon & had a category of 45 competitors. He was called early in the draw and put in a very impressive performance scoring 24 points on his five breaks.
Unfortunately the officials were unable to complete the event on the Friday and had to carry it over to the Sunday. Despite the wait and more of a wait on the day whilst the remaining competitors completed their breaks Adam was to be rewarded for his power & patience and pick up a Bronze medal a terrific achievement in this category.
Saturday (ITF Open Tournament & Special Needs) Adam Jones entered the competition for Patterns and performed his pattern Yoo Sin well and won a Bronze medal.
Also Jessica Belmonte (Northampton TKD) travelled down to Brighton to compete in Sparring & Patterns, and picked up a Silver medal in each as well as valuable competition experience.
Saturday also had one of the highlights of the week, the Special Needs TaeKwon Do. This really highlighted that TaeKwon Do is for everyone.
If you are reading this I would encourage you to look at the Special Needs on any social media, if only just for inspiration.
Sunday (Competition Day 4)
As well as Adam completing his Power division and picking up Bronze as earlier mentioned, Lewis Lavery was representing Team UK in the team events.
Lewis was part of a successful team that picked up Bronze in patterns and a Gold in Sparring.
Team UK would beat America & Canada on route to the Gold with Lewis dominating his opponent with his legs and winning his fight comfortably and confidently.
The tournament as brought to a close with speeches from ITF President Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa & Vice President Grand Master Trevor Nichols.
Overall the whole week was a success with experience gained by all those competing and in the words of Master Horan “they all performed and acted with true TaeKwon Do spirit showing the tenets in action, whether a win or defeat. Competition can show our true position in our training not only in technique but attitude as well. Gold, Silver or Bronze you all made us proud”
It was an absolutely brilliant week, with great company and was good to see competitors, coaches and parents all enjoying the experience and getting to know each other outside of the Dojang.
Hopefully the above will give all a taste for competition, who knows the next World Championship write up in 2018 could include you!