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I think to myself... What a Wonderful Worlds!

On Saturday 21st July 2018 members of TKDI joined with over 300 practitioners from across the country to represent Ireland in the 2018 TI World Championships in Birmingham Arena. Ballincollig, Ballinora, Bishopstown, Carrigaline, Crosshaven, DIT & NUIG all made the trip on what was to be a memorable weekend for all our students. Here are some reports from our participating clubs...

Carrigaline students Ashwin, Clair, Chaia, Cormac, Faye, Zoe and Ken trained hard all year with the Taekwondo Ireland squad and were delighted to be able to compete in the biggest Taekwondo competition in Europe, with 21 countries competing and approximately 2000 competitors. It was always going to be an incredible experience for all. Coach Michael Burke said that while Taekwondo Ireland did pick up 5 Gold medals, 7 Silver medals and 7 Bronze medals, our hope was that this would be a positive learning experience for all. Many of Carrigalines' competitors are very new to the international circuit and yet we still had some very close decisions: Clair was placed fourth, just outside the medals in patterns, and Faye and Cormac had some very close decisions in their sparring sections. Some great experience and learning for everyone. Unfortunately no medals for Carrigaline this year but a great sporting experience was had by all and some great friendships were made, along with a determination to get out there and scoop a few medals at the next one. A special mention has to be given to Carrigaline Instructor Mrs Angela Burke who was the chief travel organiser for Taekwondo Ireland. A job not for the faint hearted but yet Angela managed to carrying it off without a glitch.

Ballincolligs Catherine O’Boyle had this to say about her student Tadgh Connery:“Tadgh Connery 3rd Degree performed Yoo Sin at the TI 2018 World Championships in Birmingham. Tadgh was first to be called to the floor in a group of about 30 competitors. He executed his pattern really well and was unlucky to miss out on the medals by just one point. But I’m sure that he learned a lot from the experience which he’ll put to great use in his own training and in Ballincollig Taekwon Do School. Well done Tadgh”.

Crosshaven TaeKwon Do had 3 competitors: Doug McKirdy (Blue Belt), Emma O’ Connell (Yellow Belt) and Gar Fleming (Black Belt). After months of training under the watchful eye of Mr Tom Burns the 3 competitors joined team Ireland with high hopes. Doug and Emma gave a great account of themselves in the pattern sections and had a very impressive start in their Sparring sections progressing to the 2nd round and gaining massive experience. Emma O’Connell brought home a well deserved Silver Medal for Team sparring. Gar Fleming had his training camp hindered by a rib injury but used the time to prepare mentally and kept as sharp as he could physically without aggravating his fractured rib. Mr Fleming gained momentum as he progressed through the rounds and had the narrowest of victories in the semi final against an English opponent. He faced an American in the final and the first round was a cagey affair leaving the American ahead on points at half time. Mr Fleming notched things up a gear in round 2 and at the very last second he took a point to bring the fight to sudden death. An explosive attack by Mr Fleming took the point that won him the belt. Thankfully almost all of Team Ireland got to witness as events unfolded and their support was an immense factor in helping Gar over the line. The celebration was electric as his hand was raised in victory. A great weekend on the international stage for the crew from Crosshaven, and the whole of Team Ireland.

Bishopstown's July trip to Birmingham was a great experience and success for all the students and parents involved. 34 students travelled to the TI World Championships: Ethan, Sarah, Sandra, Aaron, Sarah, Syaheera, Syaireen, Aman, Josh, Zulyqa, Zumyra, James O'Rourke (Blarney Tkd), Peadar Murphy, Stephanie Desmond, Ms Sandra Walsh, Ms Shirley Deane, Mr Greg Desmond, Mr Kevin Fitzgibbon, Mr John Gannon, Mr Pat Field, Mr George Keohane, Ms Marion Haussmann, Mr Luke Keohane, Mr Milan Roy, Ms Syfeea Mohd, Ms Aiste Vaitkute, Ms Zara Walsh, Mr Sam O'Sullivan, Mr Ian Dennehy, Ms Sarah Dorgan, Ms Aisling Dorgan, Mr Conor Dorgan, Ms Ruth Fitzgibbon and Mr Alex Walsh. With little tournament experience, our students performed exceptionally well, proving they can compete at the highest level. Bishopstown was thrilled to see 8 medals won over the weekend. Aaron managed to win 2 medals! He earned Silver in Sparring and Gold in Tag Team Sparring. Stephanie added to the Desmond family accolades winning Silver in a competitive Sparring section. Mr Pat Field won Bronze in Sparring. Syaireen and Sandra picked up a Bronze Medal each in their Sparring section. Mr Luke Keohane also entered Tag Team Sparring and won Bronze. Ms Marion Haussmann won Bronze in Sparring, another family duo reaching the podium.This was a fantastic result for the club, capping off a successful weekend, with some medals and progression through to the later rounds for many.

Special thanks must be given to a number of people, whose support proved invaluable for the success of the trip. Mr Greg Desmond and Ms Marion Haussmann drove fundraising efforts on behalf of the club. Mr John Honohan oversaw the funds raised. Mr Honohan, Mr Bill Mclernon and Lucy Coomey were a great help with the table quiz nights. Many Seniors supported these events consistently. Mr Kevin Fitzgibbon organised a meal for the entire Bishopstown team on our first night in England. All the seniors in the club were supportive in preparation for Birmingham, always available to offer encouragement and advice to the students competing. Thanks also to the parents involved in the trip. Having so many adults travelling was fantastic, allowing for a smoothly run weekend.Finally, I hope Birmingham was an enjoyable weekend for all involved. Skill and character were tested and I feel we showed those in abundance. We will hit the ground running in September and push forward. I have no doubt we will have many World Champions in the near future.

Master Dermot Walsh 7th Degree

Frankfield states that the TI World Championships was a brilliant experience for the club. 6 of our students competed in the event: Hugh, Lucy, Andrew, Harry, Seán and Kevin. Club Instructor Mr John Gannon also competed in the Patterns section. All of our students performed excellently, showing great determination and skill. We were delighted to see Kevin win a Bronze Medal in Sparring! For our students to hold their own in an International Tournament was impressive. Special mention to Mr John Gannon for helping the students as they competed, encouraging them as well as coaching. The parents who travelled were a great asset on the trip. Birmingham was a fantastic trip for the club. Not only great tournament experience, but an enjoyable weekend overall. Hopefully this is the first of many.

Master Dermot Walsh 7th Degree

Ballinora TKDI too had a duo head to Brimingham under the guidance of club instructors Mr George Keohane, Ms Marion Haussmann and Mr Alex Walsh, and had a super weekend. It was hard when both Cameron and Garry ended up in the same group for both sparring and patterns but they both performed wonderfully and made their instructors very proud. Garry was the only student to medal in patterns for TKDI at the Championships which was a very proud moment for the club, earning a silver medal. We look forward to taking this experience and building upon it for the next competition.

A few students from NUIG had the privilege of being chosen by the Taekwon-Do Ireland (TKDI) international team to represent their country at this massive event and safe to say they most definitely did, bringing home medals from various sections of the competition over the course of the 2 days. The Irish team showed up in force on the day being the second largest team with hundreds of competitors, second in size only to the host team TAGB. The NUIG competitors all saw action on the first day as all colour belt events and black belt point sparring took place. All colour belt pattern sections went first but little luck was found here with Aaron Croke barely missing out on a podium finish in a very close event. More luck was had later in the ring however in the sparring section. First up was the lightweight green belt section, however with no other lightweights present Nathan Huggins made the choice to compete in the middleweight section. This didn’t stop him though as he won his first fight by a large margin and kept up the pace in his later fights only to lose out to his Irish teammate Adam in the final, walking away with silver. Aaron, fighting in what was one of the largest categories at the competition unfortunately missed out in his fight in the heavyweight red belt section in a vicious bout against the world champion in his category. Lorcan McCarthy, fighting in the heavyweight yellow belt section unfortunately missed out in his fight by a single point in the last few seconds after an extremely close fight. Agata Rzeznik had a better run managing to make it in to the quarter final in the ladies blue belt section where she earned a bronze medal after a tough match.

On the second day was all of the black belt events. Roisin took part in both sparring and patterns. Unfortunately, she too lost out in an extremely tough fight against the competitor who went on to become the world champion of the female black belt section. Sparring was only the beginning of the success for the group however as they then went on to win 3 more medals in the ultimate striker section. Lorcan achieved second place, walking away with silver in the colour belts heavyweight turning kick section. Nathan managed to walk away with gold from this section, taking first place in the colour belts lightweight turning kick section. Roisin scored second and held that position throughout the whole second day with no other competitor able to top her score in the female black belt turning kick section meaning a third silver for the NUIG group. In the end the group walked away from the World Championships with a Gold, 3 Silver and a Bronze medal doing particularly well in ultimate striker. One thing is for sure this is one group of fighters whose kicks you definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of!

TKDI Squad – TI World Championships, 20-21 July 2018