Bishopstown's trip to the UK this February was a great experience and success for all the students and parents involved. 23 students travelled to the PUMA Open International: Ethan, Sarah, Zumyra, Aniq, Nurain, Dania, Abbie, Rebecca, Syaheera and black belts Eyad, Sarah, Samuel, Syaireen, Zulyqa, Sandra, , Luke, Oliwia, Pia, Sophie, Ian, Ms Marion Haussmann, Mr Sam O'Sullivan, and Mr Alex Walsh. Our students performed exceptionally well, showing a significant improvement from competing over the past few years. We managed to win 8 Gold, 8 Silver and 14 Bronze Medals in total.
Colour Belt: Aniq and Ethan both won Gold in competitive pattern sections and Bronze in sparring. They both fought physically imposing opponents but their skill kept them safe and in control. Similar can be said for Dania and Zumyra, who managed to earn Bronze in both patterns and sparring. Dania improved significantly in her second fight, while Zumyra just missed out on a place in the the final after extra time. Abbie and Rebecca were unlucky not to pick up medals but impressed with strong performances in patterns, showing a lot of promise for the future. Syaheera (2 Golds) and Sarah (2 Silvers) were the best in their category in both patterns and sparring, resulting in two all-Bishopstown finals against one another. It was extremely difficult to separate the pair. Both came down to split decisions by the judges, with Syaheera winning by the finest of margins. Both students pushed each other and will continue to help each other excel. Nurain later exceeded expectations as she won Gold in Senior patterns and Bronze in sparring, competing in her first ever tournament.
Congratulations to Kevin and Sean from Frankfield - Sean competed in a very tough Black Belt section, while Kevin won Silver in colour belt sparring.
Also to Cormac from Carrigaline who won Gold in patterns and Bronze in Black Belt sparring.
Black Belt: Eyad won Silver in patterns and bronze in sparring. Samuel got bronze in both disciplines. Zulyqa also won two medals, Silver in sparring and Bronze in patterns. Sandra fought well against a top English opponent and just missed out on a medal. Sarah performed an excellent pattern to win Bronze, also winning Bronze in sparring. Syaireen reached the final of patterns, facing her older sister to win Silver.
Luke showed a return to form with some brilliant sparring to earn Bronze. His bout went to extra time where he was just edged out. Pia brought home multiple medals as always with Gold in patterns and Silver in Sparring. Oliwia fought brilliantly including a close fight against Pia to earn Bronze. Sophie did very well to perform on the day having been injured before the weekend, getting Bronze in patterns. Ian produced a fantastic display of pressure fighting on his way to Bronze in sparring, fighting with the maturity and confidence of a senior.
Ms Haussmann won Gold in her patterns section with Eui-Am, good preparation for her 3rd Degree preliminary grading this April. Ms Haussmann also won Silver in sparring, a final which she feels she will win next time. Mr O’Sullivan and Mr Walsh also earned some silverware in a strong sparring section. Mr O’Sullivan, in his first tournament as a Senior, won Bronze in both sparring and 3rd Degree patterns and Mr Walsh picked up Silver in sparring and a Gold in patterns.
The tournament was a great experience for our club. We have seen tremendous growth in all the students who have trained and competed constantly ever since the World Championships in 2018. It is clear from the medal haul that we are all now capable of winning at the elite competitions. The students are training together like a squad, pushing each other and the benefits are starting to show in the results. Thanks must go the coaches who travelled and contributed greatly to the success. Ms Sandra Walsh, Mr Pat Field, Ms Haussmann, Mr George Keohane and Ms Zara Walsh not only coached but they took care of juniors trying to find their sections, helped students warm up and prepare mentally and were ever present on ringside to support and encourage students. Many of the black belt juniors used their own skill and leadership qualities to help younger competitors with tactics and strategy. Thanks also to the parents and families who were also cheering all our competitors on as they fought. It made for a brilliant atmosphere on the day.
We enjoyed a brilliant tournament and marked the success with a visit of London the next day. It was a great way to celebrate and relax after such an intense competition. We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and will be looking to do a similar trip in the near future.