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SGTKD join our TKD friends at the UKITF English Championships
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Valentines Day 2014, a time for romantic dinners and a loved up evening in front of the fire?   No, not if you are attending the English Championships in Stoke-On-Trent on Saturday 15th! In that case, whether you are an organiser, umpire, event staff, instructor, competitor or spectator, you are braving truly horrible weather and hazardous driving conditions to travel up to attend the weigh in, set up the sports hall and check into the hotel to get ready for the following day!

Saturday morning found members of SGTKD gathering at Fenton Manor Sports Centre to join the many others preparing for the day ahead. For some the English had the added importance of being a ranking competition with a potential invitation to the UK Squad Training and, ultimately, a possible place at the World Championships at stake.

With Glyn and Salli once again displaying on the big screen which category would take place on which ring, the event began with patterns and soon all six rings were a hive of activity as competitors of all ages and grades put their years of training and practise to the test. All the Kids Kickers performed brilliantly and the Giff began to collect a few medals  - Esme achieved gold, Lucie gold, Connie silver and William silver. In the U16s category Joseph won bronze, Kieran silver, Ollie gold, Ben C bronze and Emily gold. Sarah and Chloe soon added to the tally with a gold medal each.

Sparring followed with some spirited rounds. The hard work paid off and the medals kept coming Joseph won bronze, Kieran gold, Esme silver, Maddie silver, Sarah gold, Connie bronze, Emily gold, Ben C bronze and Alexia bronze. Well done Callum and Jakob who put in great performances, only just missing out on medal positions.

A brief interlude followed in which Master Nicholls made some degree and award presentations including a 7th Degree and Master title to Mandeep Rauli, a 6th Degree to Dr Hayley Parker and an Umpires award to Mr Churchward. The Umpire and Event Staff also had a much needed break and bite to eat provided by Nicky and Vin (thankyou!) before returning to the rings so that the remaining categories could commence.

Ollie, Lucie and Ben C competed again in the afternoon in the Cadets category. Patterns came first with Lucie winning bronze, Ollie bronze and Ben C silver and in the sparring that followed Lucie put in a brave performance to achieve silver, Ben, who was taking part in a higher weight category for the first time, did really well to win silver and Ollie, who had fought well throughout was unlucky to lose his bout in the last few seconds. As patterns and sparring continued the Kids Kickers took part in the ever popular Flying Kick! Esme flew to a gold, Maddie a silver and Connie a bronze.

Laura, Jenni, Kevin, Sarah and Ben BA, who had recently taken the umpire and event staff assessments, along with Emma, all did a grand job and enjoyed their day umpiring and helping to run the rings. With Miss Burridge and Alison helping to run things on the top table, the day passed and as the rest of the rings were dismantled and cleared away around them Phoebe and Joseph triumphed in power and special technique.

After a long and tiring day everyone gathered their haul of medals and kit bags and headed home, the return journey being far more pleasurable than the journey up! As always it was great to catch up with our friends from all over the country and the social aspect of TKD competitions remains nearly as important as the competing !

Many congratulations to everyone who attended. With over 280 competing it was a tough competition and just having the nerve to get up and take part is a triumph in itself and you all performed superbly.

Thank you to Master Nicholls, Miss Burridge, Ashley Nicholls, Alison, Mr & Mrs Richards and all the officials and umpires who made the day a success, and to all the competitors and spectators for your patience and support and for braving the miserable weather to attend!

We are now looking forward to travelling south to Paignton in March for the South West Open Championships. See you there!

Written by: SGTKD - 23rd February 2014

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