Once again, Warwick Taekwondo headed down to Cheltenham for the annual GTI British Open tournament. Having attained seven medals and trophies between ten participants last year, the team had high hopes for similar results this time around.
Taekwondo tournaments have two types of events a competitor can enter: patterns and continuous sparring. Patterns are a set of pre-determined moves where the competitor displays the aesthetic aspect of various techniques. Contrastingly, sparring consists of 2 minute rounds against an opponent with points being scored for successful punches and kicks.
Unfortunately, the team attained no medals in patterns, although they would go on to fare much differently in the sparring competition.
Fresher Chu-Kwei Wong was the first to spar. Having only taken up Taekwondo a month ago, he understandably did not medal, despite putting up a good fight and giving his opponents real cause for concern.
Jonny May and Ken Wei Tan both competed in the black belt category. Having previously trained under a completely different Taekwondo style, he was unused to sparring this way competitively, yet still managed to land a few choice kicks on his opponent. Jonny won his first fight in both point-stop and continuous but drew the same opponent for both semi-finals, preventing him from going for gold. Despite this setback, he gave everything he had left, and came away with two medals
Sam Beaumont did not have the best of starts to the tournament, having missed his chance to perform his pattern due to being unable to find which ring he was meant to be in!
He bounced back from this disappointment by blazing his way to victory in point-stop. His final came down to sudden death, and the team drew their breaths in anticipation as kick after kick was executed only for no clear point to be awarded. Out of nowhere, Beaumont proceeded to land the final blow securing yet another gold for the team.
Other teams members who performed particularly well included George Hughes, who, using his famed superman punch, launched an attack that sent his opponent hurtling to the ground within seconds of the bout beginning. The end result came to a draw, but after extra time the judges’ decision went against him. Second year Robyn Wootton performed equally as admirably, overcome her pre-tournament nerves to come away with two silver medals.
After some courageous performances, the team were able to bring back a haul of 9 medals and trophies, and are looking forward to working to improve on this total at their next tournament.