4 x European Titles
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A massive well done goes to the girls that represented Stoke Gifford TKD, UK ITF & Team UK at the recent ITF European Championships in Moldova.They came back to Bristol with four European Champion titles as well as numerous medals & an Overall Champion title.

Esme McCarthy in her first experience of International competition held her nerve superbly being one of the first categories to be called to the mat & having to compete against her national rivals & friends. This is always a tough ask but Esme proved that she has what it takes & took the European title in the patterns category. Esme showed her guts & determination as again she was pitted against her UK rival in the sparring. After a hard fought match her opponent Katie took the title & Esme was left with a well deserved Silver. Esme has certainly proved that she is a star of the future & we look forward to seeing her progress in the path to the World Championships 2016.

Emily was next to compete, with two International competitions under her belt her experience shone through as she took to the mat to contend a tough patterns category. Again Emily came up against some UK rivals as well as Czech competitors. She held her composure & nerve well & powered through to the final against friend & training companion Polly. After some strong patterns from both girls Emily took the European Champion title. Next up was the sparring & her first match was against a larger Italian. Emily’s experience & movement played a large part in a decisive win in this match. The final match was against a considerably larger Moldavian girl. Emily had the chance to watch her spar before this final match & was able to use her timing, movement & ring craft to score clear & decisive points. Everyone was elated as she earned a second European title. She then had a few days to relax & support the other competitors before she was to compete in the team events.

The next day of competition saw Beth & Phoebe compete in the same category for a patterns title. Both completed strong patterns in what was to be a round robin match. With Phoebe up first against a very technically strong kicking Dutch lady, she held back the nerves to put in solid performance. Although not successful she composed herself ready for her match against her fellow training mate Beth. Once again both put in a concrete performance. Beth was given the decision & prepared herself ready for the final match against the Netherlands. The final match was very close with both ladies showing great execution of all techniques with fantastic kicking ability. Beth didn’t get the decision but was happy with a well deserved Silver & Phoebe was given a well earned Bronze.

After the mentally tough patterns, Beth had to focus herself for the sparring. Her first match was to be against a Czech lady. Beth worked hard in both rounds but was unable to get enough points on the board to take her through to the final & the Czech took the result. Beth was disappointed but pleased with a huge amount of experience gained & a bronze medal for her efforts.

The final day saw Phoebe compete in her favourite event which was the adult female power test. As with the World Championships the previous year she put us all on the emotional roller coaster by not breaking on the first occasion. But none of the other ladies did either. This meant that it went to a second qualifying round, where after Phoebe had got rid of her nerves she smashed through the boards with a side kick. This put her through to the final with 4 other ladies. Next up was turning kick, once again Phoebe smashed through to get full points. None of the other ladies were successful in their attempts. The final break was knife hand. Phoebe didn’t break this, but once again neither did any of the other ladies. This meant that after all breaks Phoebe had the most points. Phoebe was over the moon when the umpire called her name & announced that she had got the Gold! Another European title for Team UK & the Giff.

Part way through the competition we had the pleasure of the official ceremony.  Esme was both surprised & privileged to be asked to be a representative for Team UK. She along with another team mate came out with our flag accompanied by a member of the Moldavian military. This was a great honour for Esme, one that she will not forget for many years to come.

The last day also saw Emily & Phoebe compete in the Team events that they had been selected for. Emily helped her team to a bronze & a silver in the junior girls category. Phoebe also helped her team to two Golds & two Silvers in the adult female category which also lead to a best overall team trophy.

The final afternoon saw the presentation of medals. All of the ladies & girls took to the podium with pride & all supporters looked on with a lump in their throat as the national anthem was played on numerous occasions. The final awards were presented for best overall for each age & gender category. To our surprise & excitement Emily was announced as Best Overall Junior Female. This presentation capped off a fantastically successful trip for the club & Team UK.

As always our thanks go to the UK ITF administration G. M. Nicholls & Ashley Nicholls. All the hardworking Umpires. To all of the Team UK coaches for their support both before & at the competition. To the all parents & supporters.

The focus now continues for the ITF World Championships in Brighton 2016.

Please see detailed results below;
Esme McCarthy – European Champion U14’s female 1st Degree Patterns & European Silver medallist in U14’s female Light sparring
Beth Martin – European Silver medallist Adult Female 3rd Degree Patterns & European Bronze Medallist Adult female heavy weight sparring
Phoebe Grandfield – European Champion Adult Female Power & European Bronze Medallist Adult female 3rd degree patterns. Team Power – Silver, Team Special Technique – Silver, Team Patterns – Gold, Team Sparring – Gold.
Emily Oakes – European Champion U16’s Female 2nd Degree patterns, European Champion U16’s female Welter weight sparring. Best Overall Junior Female. Team Special Technique – Bronze, Team Power – Silver

Written by: Kerry Burridge - 31st July 2015

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