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South East Region triumph at World Championships
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First up in the Micro-weight category was European Champion Jamie McAvoy. There was an extra spice to his first fight, with Jamie hungry for revenge against the Russian, Vargas. They met in 2007, at the Junior World Championships in Birmingham, with the diminutive Russian narrowly defeating Jamie and going on to take the World crown.

The tension in the ring was elevating its way up to the stands, with both fighters ready for ‘Round 2’. From start to finish Jamie bossed the fight and completely outclassed the Russian, even making his usually devastating jump-punch worthless. With both hands and feet Jamie was on top throughout the four minutes, he was in complete control and towards the end of the fight the Russian was the one making all the mistakes born out of sheer frustration. When the bell rang to signal the end of the fight, there was only one winner. Jamie had made the world re-knowned Vargas look completely ordinary and was through to the second round to face Sweden.
Who said revenge isn’t sweet!

After a slight delay, the fight began. Jamie had the advantage having already watched the Swede in his first fight. His opponent was an awkward customer, tall with an emphasis on constantly coming forward using his long legs to keep his opponents at bay. Jamie worked around this, outscoring him on the inside with his superior hand speed and jab. Jamie was making easy work of the Scandinavian, throwing turning kick and sides to the body as soon as the lanky fighter had put his foot down. Jamie was superior in all ways and by the end of the fight was ahead on all four judges scorecards. Onto Round Three and Japan. The Japanese are known for their ability to score and move. Jamie tried to stop this as much as possible, again scoring with his hands but his Japanese opponent waiting with a reverse every time Jamie advanced in. Jamie was trailing until the very last moments, in desperation he threw a turn to the body and followed in with his hands. The scroll moved over to Jamie’s side, he had won and was guaranteed a Bronze.

Awaiting Jamie in the Semi-Final was Russia, again. By now Jamie was oozing confidence, but thirty seconds into the fight it was literally knocked out of him. As Jamie went forward with a push side the Russian threw a reverse punch. From the stands it didn’t look like contact had been made, but how wrong were we. Jamie was on the floor, caught clean with a beautiful right reverse punch to the jaw. The very dramatic Korean medics were instantly onto the ring, surrounding our club mate who was still virtually motionless on the floor. After a few minutes Jamie was helped onto his feet and whilst finding it hard to keep his balance we thought it was over as a contest. However, true to Jamie’s character he wanted to continue and did he defy the odds or what. He had been virtually knocked out, his top and bottom lip split open and still in a daze Jamie came back from being down on all four scorecards to win the fight. It was the true definition of perseverance, showing the most amazing grit, determination and focus to win the fight. The most remarkable feat was the fact that Jamie had suffered the near knockout thirty seconds into the fight and had almost the whole fight to go. He had just gone to hell and back, but to Jamie it was most definitely worth the journey. Fortunately he wouldn’t have to fight until the next day and awaiting him in the Final was defending World Champion, Axel Vargas from Argentina.

The next day the Final was screened on ESPN throughout South Korea. Eager to impress in front of the cameras and effectively millions throughout Korea, Jamie was buzzing. The initial two minutes were very even. The highlight of the first round came when Jamie almost severed Axel’s head with a reverse turning kick and followed with a set of punches to the face. Axel was scoring with his front turn whenever Jamie advanced forward and went in at the break leading. Jamie had every reason to believe he could win this fight, not outclassed in the slightest and making it hard for Axel to score. Jamie went in search of the win throwing combinations to the body in an effort to regain the ascendancy but to no avail. Axel towards the end picked him off expertly with lead turns and utilised his lead jab beautifully to maintain his point’s advantage. Once the bell rang to signal the end of what was a showpiece final, Jamie had narrowly lost but had done himself and all of us proud. Now a European Champion and World Silver medallist, Jamie was the man of the moment.

Next up in the Lightweight category was European Champion Reece Nicholls. He was confident and raring to get his campaign trail underway with victory against Australia. The fighter from ‘down under’ had every reason to fear Reece and the first thirty seconds proved that assumption correct. Reece wasn’t allowing his opponent any leeway whatsoever, using his signature push side and jabs to score and subsequently push the Aussie out of the ring. Reece’s dominance wasn’t in question throughout the duration of the fight, with the Australian evidently losing confidence very early on. The second two minutes proceeded exactly how the first two minutes had, with Reece not allowing his opponent any opportunity to seize the upper hand. He had been totally outclassed.

The second round saw Reece drawn up against a familiar face from Ireland. Having already sparred and beaten him in March’s Spanish Open, Zaragoza Reece had the upper hand. Reece and the Irish lad began the fight sizing each other up, at first wary to throw the first technique. Ireland are always tough fighters to face, always more solid with their hands than they are with their feet and his Irish opponent proved this to a core. Reece is a very balanced fighter; equally good with his hands as he his with his feet with the added ability to always mix it up. At times throughout the fight he had Ireland on the back foot with his lead side, but after a while his opponent was finding ways through making it hard for Reece to throw a side without at the same time getting caught with a series of punches.  This made it hard for Reece as towards the end of the fight he was made to chase to get the needed points to progress to the next round. The Irish fighter was made to work hard for the victory, with Reece fighting to the death. Comeback you could say for the Irish after defeat in Zaragoza, but European Champion Reece now looks forward to defending his Lightweight title at next years Europeans… in Ireland.

Next up was Matthew Brunger in the Middleweight category. First up for the talented fighter was Italy. With a vast amount of experience in fighting Italians throughout the years and with success, Matt was confident in progressing with a win and rightly so. With the Italian smaller in height but seemingly heavier, Matt used this to his advantage. Scoring with solid shots to the head and body, at no point throughout the fight did he drop a sweat or for that matter even a point. The highlight of the bout came with Matt scoring a lead hook kick to the face of the Italian. The little Italian followed the lead of his nations footballers at the World Cup, deservedly out at the first stage.

Next up was a fighter from the Netherlands. Matt is a fighter able to mix it up possessing the ability to throw any technique to score whether on the front or back foot. The would be needed very much in this next fight, with the Dutch fighter strong on his right lead side and very effective with his hands going forward but also allowed pressure from his opponents, something Matt planned to expose and utilise. Matt was eager to put the pressure on and landed with some solid sidekicks and turns, whilst also unleashing back-kicks to the body, aptly adapting when under pressure. The Dutch landed with some heavy blows and was also scoring but it wasn’t until near the end of the first round that Matt’s superiority finally told. Just ahead on the scorecards, Matt sensed the opportunity to end the fight as a contest. As his opponent came forward with a barrage of punches, Matt landed with a devastating right sidekick to the ribs, sending the big fighter from Holland crashing to the floor and unable to continue. The Dutch competitor was helped off the ring by medics and Matt was through to the Quarters against Ireland. Having already watched his next opponent in his previous bouts, Matt knew what to expect. Although less technically gifted, his Irish counterpart was a very awkward fighter.

The first round ended on level terms, with each fighter cancelling each other out. In the second two minutes Matt was scoring successfully with single shots, but warnings got the better of him and effectively cost him a place in the Semi Finals. Matt was unconsciously stepping out of the ring whilst moving to avoid shots from his opponent and the minus points in the end sent Matt out and Ireland though. The Irish fighter went on to win the title. It was heartache for Matt.

The Adult Female lightweight category saw Jay Gilbert take to the world stage in round one against Argentina. This was a first World Championships for Jay and boy did she take it by the scruff of the neck. Her opponent was an established and successful fighter from Argentina, but no one would have thought that after the fight. The Argentinean’s lead side was her main weapon, which after a minute against Jay was as useful as Robert Green in goal for England. Every time the South American came forward with that side, Jay sent it crashing down with a downward block and followed up with a flurry of devastating punches to the face. Unable to withstand the pressure from the fiery Miss Gilbert, the Argentinean was on the floor countless times with Jay standing over her. Somehow, Jay went in at the break narrowly down but didn’t allow this injustice to get her down or feel frustrated. The first minute of the second round Jay carried on where she left off, on the front foot with the Argentinean completely baffled as to where she was and Jay at one point ahead in the fight. The main turning point came when the Argentinean caught Jay with a turning kick and regained the advantage. Argentina are very good at maintaining leads by using the ring to dodge the opponent. Jay unfortunately fell into this trap and was made to chase the fight for the final sixty seconds. Sadly Jay just missed out on making the second round but as a result of her incredible performance won a place in the England Ladies Sparring Team. She had made the Argentinean look completely ordinary, who by the way went on to win the title.

Next up in the Middleweight category were Laurie Cornwell and Prit Sidhu.

First up for Laurie was Greece. Always a character in the ring and a fighter who loves to intimidate her opponents Laurie did just that against the Greek fighter. Whether it was going forwards, backwards or to the left or right, Laurie was scoring with ease, at one point sending her opponent crashing down to the floor with a devastating blow to the body. Turning kick, sidekick, jabs, back kicks all landing at will. Convincingly ahead on all judges scorecards, Laurie comfortably moved into Round two against Scotland with a Semi-Final place at steak place stake. From the off Laurie initially scoured the ring out of reach but at the same time cleverly sizing up her opponent. Again Laurie made it look easy, demonstrating to the watching arena the devastating effect of a jump back-kick. Every time the Scot came in an effort to score Laurie countered with an exquisite switch back to the body occasionally followed up with the hands. The fight was a joy to watch, Laurie was at ease and her opponent knew it. The Scottish fighter at times didn’t know whether to risk coming forward in search of points, wary of the Cornwell back-kick. Laurie used her opponent’s uncertainty to her advantage; overwhelming the Scot with a spontaneous barrage of punches to the face followed by turns to the body. Unsurprisingly Laurie moved into the Semi-Finals against the European champion from the Netherlands. Laurie’s Dutch opponent was very tall and used her long limbs to her advantage. Laurie would have to score from the inside, and that is exactly what she continuously attempted from the bell with some success. It still wasn’t enough to send her through to the final, but Laurie had succeeded in roughing up her opponent. Laurie was not intimidated by the height difference in the slightest and was a constant force going forward, sending the Dutch fighter crashing to the floor on several occasions. However, Bronze it was for the Yiewsley fighter!

Next up was another experienced campaigner, still on 21 years old Prit Sidhu was determined for sparring success after earlier heartache in Patterns.

First up was Ireland. Prit hasn’t always enjoyed success against the Irish, which made her even more determined to win and in style. The Irish made it uncomfortable for Prit in the first round, making her spar outside of her comfort zone and leading for a large proportion of the first two minutes. Prit scored with a few turns but again those Irish hands were landing and scoring. They went in at the break with Ireland leading, just. When the bell rang for the final two minutes Prit was a different fighter, a sparer who was thinking about every shot she was throwing and consequently scoring. It was art at work, frustration for the Irish but absolute joy for the English. Using her side as a dummy to either score with a following turning kick or lead jab, Prit’s execution was crystal clear and timing near perfect. With 30 seconds to go and Prit leading the Irish fighter came forward in need of points to rescue the bout. Prit clapped her hands and said thank you very much (not literally). Dodge and score with lead jab, Prit made it her own and was showing her class. A win on the board, and confidence booming Prit wasn’t quite done yet.

Argentina beckoned in the Semi-Finals. Prit didn’t have a care in the world as to the opponent, she could taste Gold. The fight was completely different to the first, with the Argentinean waiting for the counter and Prit throwing dummies. Prit went forward with a turn and the South American countered with a reverse turn to the face. She had foolishly dropped her guard and was duly punished. Argentina were leading, but Prit landed with an axe and punches to the face to lead going into the second.
Now ahead in the fight, Prit was the fighter with no real reason to go forward in search of points, instead waiting for the counter. The Argentinean was persistent with her lead left side but was getting caught by Prit’s lead jab to the face. It was a joy to witness such craft, simple but so effective, the ability to side step and jab with the lead hand. Prit was making it look so easy; the Argentinean was still streaming forward but to no avail. Prit was deservedly won and was through to face Laurie’s conqueror from the Netherlands in the final.

In the final Prit unfortunately fell victim to the long limbs from Holland; unable to consistently find a way through on the inside, her Dutch opponent was regularly scoring with lead side or turn. The ability to avoid her opponent’s kicks looked near impossible, especially when Prit had to chase the fight, which as a consequence meant changing the game plan. Prit did score with some lovely turns and at one point dazzled her opponent with jabs to the face but in the end the Dutch fighter was a worthy winner. She is the European and World Champion, so it isn’t only Prit and Laurie finding it difficult to get past those long limbs from Amsterdam.
So a Silver for Prit and Bronze for Laurie…not bad eh!

Luke Dempsey, competing in the Junior Male Middleweight division got his campaign underway against the USA.  Luke fancied his chances and his self-belief duly responded with a resounding win. Luke was the smaller of the two fighters and this apparent disadvantage was the downfall not for Luke, but his American opponent. As they sized each other up before the fight, his opponent had fallen into a false sense of triumph, believing as the bigger fighter he had already won. It was laughable and he soon realised what a terrible two minutes he was in for when Luke landed with a push side forcing the American out of the ring.

Any sign of movement from the USA, Luke had his leg up and hands ready to do the damage. Whether in training or competition, you rarely see Luke Dempsey without a cotton bud stuck up his nose or blood soaking his white dobok. The young fighter has been through a million battles and always relishes the next.

Back to the fight…Luke was still not allowing his American counterpart any breathing space and proceeded to score at will. Luke was using the ring to tire and frustrate his opponent but at the same conserve his energy for his next fight. Ahead on all four scorecards, Luke was through to Round Two.

Up next, Josh Wellman. Fellow Englishman and team-mate Luke, the ever professional, didn’t allow this to effect his performance in any way whatsoever. He wanted to win and it was plain for everyone to see. The fight began very evenly, Josh using his superior weight and height advantage in an attempt to rifle Luke but to no avail. Towards the end of the first round Luke was down on the scorecards but levelled matters with a beautiful combination to the body. Luke had countered with a blistering turning kick to the abdomen with a follow up of punches to the body. It scored and Luke was level. Game on. 30 seconds before the bell rang, Luke fell victim to a powerful hand shot from Wellman and as a result just behind on the scorecards.

The second half of the fight was an absolute thriller with each fighter trading blows and Wellman using his superior height and weight advantage to force Dempsey out of the ring. Luke didn’t necessarily fall into this trap shall we say but at times had no way of avoiding the charge from Josh. Luke was scoring with some incredible shots, he was defying the odds with some inch perfect turns and push sides forcing Josh onto the back foot and again for the third time in the fight levelling matters. Did I mention Luke loves a battle? I lost count the amount of times the fight switched sides but Josh eventually defeated our champion from Hayes & Yiewsley. It was a magnificent spectacle and fight. Josh went on to win the division and was crowned World Champion.

Gurlaine Sidhu was competing in the Junior Female Welterweight category and first up was Argentina. Gurlaine, the top English seed and a medal favourite went into the fight brimming with confidence and buzzing for victory. Well known around the circuit for being a solid and powerful fighter Gurlaine is able to overwhelm her opponents going forward and stun them with counters going back. The Argentineans carry a sense of arrogance when stepping in the ring to purposefully intimidate their opponents, but not Gurlaine. Often compared to an Argentinean herself, Gurlaine was ready to give the South American a taste of her own medicine. The bell rang and Gurlaine immediately piled on the pressure, reaching out with her push side. It was rather cagey for the first thirty seconds to a minute but Gurlaine soon sensed an opportunity to score and duly landed with a set of crunching right and left punches to the face leaving the Argentinean dazed and out of the ring. Gurlaine’s punches really do pack a punch; her opponent having to find out the hard way was now doing her best to avoid another onslaught. However, there is no avoiding the youngest Sidhu, her long legs catching scoring with either a sharp turn or pile-driving side to the body followed up with the deadly twosome (hands) landing with devastating effect, so simple but yet so effective. Gurlaine led going into the second round.
The start of the second round began with the Argentinean going in search of the points to turn around the contest around. The South American came forward with a turning kick catching Gurlaine clean around the face and splitting her lip in the process. She swung another turn, again catching Gurlaine clean around the face. A lapse in focus had cost Gurlaine four points. The South American had now gained the advantage on the judge’s scorecards and Gurlaine now chased the fight. The Argentinean couldn’t cope with Gurlaine’s power and accuracy as the Hayes & Yiewsley fighter continually scored the points needed. Gurlaine ended the fight ahead on all four judges scorecards and was through to Round Two against…Argentina.

This Argentinean was bigger than the last and sparred more on the counter. Gurlaine was landing with her lead side and continually forced her opponent out of the ring. The Argentinean was however scoring with a counter turn and at times landed with jump punch. Gurlaine was behind but drew level when she scored with a lead jab followed by a left reverse punch followed by a lightening quick turn to the body. Gurlaine is feared by many for her sheer power, a fact she was attempting to make clear to the Argentinean and with success. They went in at the break level.
Gurlaine was the first back onto the ring, ready for Round 2. The two minutes demonstrated sparring at it’s best. Gurlaine was at times sensational going forward whilst the Argentinean was equally good at countering with techniques you didn’t believe were possible. As the round progressed the South American extended her lead and used the ring to avoid the clutches Gurlaine who in the dying moments was made to chase the fight. Gurlaine lost the fight and the Argentinean went on to be crowned World Champion. However, later in the competition there was the opportunity for Gurlaine to exact revenge. They both met each other again in team sparring, Gurlaine won!

Now…I couldn’t possibly steal the limelight from my club mates by describing how unbelievable and truly inspirational my sparring was at these World Championships, it just wouldn''''t be fair. So instead I will give you a brief insight into my bouts. First up was Italy, I was happy with the draw and looking forward to sparring the Italian. The bout was stopped after two minutes, the Italian came forward with a side and I countered with a lovely switch back cracking his ribs in the process. With the bout stopped and a win by KO on the board, confidence was oozing through me as I prepared to face Argentina in the second round. At that moment I felt I could beat anyone. The bout went right down to the wire with the South American leading by a single point on the judge''''s scorecards. My three warnings and subsequent ''''minus point'''' had lost me the fight and a place in the Semi-Finals. I was massively disappointed but recognized the areas in which I needed to work on and improve in order to win in Ireland next year and Canada the following summer.

In First Degree Adult Male Patterns, Jamie McAvoy didn’t make it through the first stage losing to Australia. Second Degree Adult Male Patterns, Reece Nicholls saw off Holland in the first round before falling to Japan in the second round.
Gav Sidhu and Matthew Brunger were in the Adult Male Fourth Degree Patterns category and after seeing off the USA and Hong Kong respectively, met in the second round. Matt came through to meet Argentina in the Semi’s but controversially lost.

In Adult Female Third Degree Patterns Prit Sidhu made it through to the Semi-Finals before losing to the USA and Laurie Cornwell in the Adult Female Fourth Degree Patterns made it through to the Final before losing to Silvia Farigu of Italy.

In Junior Male Second Degree Patterns, Luke Dempsey beat the USA before falling to Singapore in the second round. In Junior Female Second Degree Patterns Gurlaine Sidhu lost in the first round to Australia after initially drawing.

Luke Dempsey was a member of the Junior Boys England Team for Patterns, Sparring, Special Technique and Power, winning Silver in Patterns and Sparring.

Gav Sidhu, Matthew Brunger and Reece Nicholls were all members of the Adult Male England Team Patterns, Sparring, Special Technique and Power. Jamie McAvoy was a member of the Adult Male England Team Patterns.
They achieved Silver in Team Patterns, beating Ireland, Italy and Japan before losing to Argentina in the Final.
In Team Sparring they beat Croatia and Italy before losing to Russia in the Semi-Finals.
In Team Power, out of ‘seventeen nations’ they achieved Bronze, breaking three out of a possible five techniques (Five boards - Side-Kick, Turning-Kick and Reverse Punch).
In addition, the Adult Men’s team were invited to fight Argentina in an exhibition fight for ESPN, which they unfortunately lost by the narrowest of margins.

Laurie Cornwell was a member of the Adult Female England Team Patterns and Sparring with Prit Sidhu and Jay Gilbert in the Adult Female England Sparring Team.

In Patterns England controversially lost in the first round to the USA but in Sparring made it through to the Final before losing to Argentina, with both Prit and Laurie involved in all fights leading up to and including the Final.

On another note, every member of the Hayes & Yiewsley Team were part of Taekwondo history at the World Championships. Whether fighting in respective individual finals and/or in team final events, they were filmed in the first ever-live broadcast of an ITF World Championships on South Korean television (ESPN). An absolutely fantastic achievement and something they can now look back on in years to come with great pride.

Mr Mandeep Rauli (VI Degree) travelled to South Korea as England Head Male Coach. Mr Rauli was constantly at our sides when competing in either Patterns or Sparring and his calming influence both prior to bouts as well as ringside was key to many successful performances both individually and in team. His dedication and passion for our success was unrivalled and I would like to, on behalf of Hayes & Yiewsley, place on record my sincere thanks to Mr Rauli as our coach in South Korea. Also out of eight coin tosses he won seven, a championship record surely!

On behalf of us all, I would also like to sincerely thank our Instructor, Master Trevor Nicholls. His devotion to our training and belief in us all individually is inspiring and truly uplifting. His dedication in making us champions is beyond compare.

Written by: Gavinder Sidhu - 10th August 2010
[Comments: 4]

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Article Feedback:

Kay Z King : 22nd August 2010, 09:14

Excellently wriitten and a joy to read. Well done to all.
Krystyna Sargent : 12th August 2010, 21:04

Very descriptive article - congratulations to everyone.
: 12th August 2010, 13:40

Well done to everyone.
Kerry Burridge ( UK ITF) : 11th August 2010, 13:45
Christopher Devine : 10th August 2010, 12:53

Excellent article with very good descriptions of each competitors achievements. Good luck to you all in Ireland next year....unless you're up against Scotland ;)

Looking forward to seeing these top competitors at Reading in October.
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