Leinster TaeKwon Do took home a total of 1 silver and 4 bronze medals from the recent TaeKwon Do International World Championships in the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
A team of 15 competitors, and 15 supporters, made the short trip across the water, all dreaming of returning as World Champions.
All competitors had put a huge amount of time and effort into training over recent months, and all were ready to compete at the highest level, at the largest TaeKwon Do competition in the world.
The colour belts and juniors took to the mats on Saturday, and didn’t disappoint, with all performing admirably throughout the day. Teegan Russell won silver in the ladies red belt sparring section, and a bronze in the tag team sparring event. Liam Brennan from Arklow also took bronze in the men’s blue belt sparring.
In the juniors, Shane Doyle won bronze in tag team sparring, while Ryan Howick claimed bronze in his individual sparring category.
Aaron Conroy, Keane Howick, Shauna Redmond, Liam Bowkett and Darragh Cullen also competed on day one and did themselves proud. A special mention goes to Oisin O’Sullivan, who unfortunately broke his arm falling awkwardly during his first fight. Oisin was dominating the match and was well on his way to the second round when misfortune struck.
To end the day, Tom and Gavin teamed up with another Irish fighter to take part in the international tag team event. After overcoming Swiss and Spanish fighters, they went out to an impressive Dutch team.
Tom, Gavin and Eibhleann Bowkett competed in both patterns and sparring on the Sunday. Despite some excellent performances by all, they couldn’t clinch medals to add to Saturday’s haul. Tom was particularly unlucky – being just one win away from getting his hands on a bronze medal at least.
Reflecting on the tournament, LTKD Head Instructor Tom Thornton described the trip as a fantastic success. He said: “I am extremely proud of all students who trained, travelled and competed in the World Championships. It is a unique opportunity to compete at the highest level, and everybody looked comfortable on the world stage. The hard work and training really paid off. Witnessing the unbelievable standard on display will hopefully inspire all who travelled to stick at it, keep their heads down and keep training. We could well be coming back with world champions the next time.”