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UKTA English Championships
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On Saturday 18th March, Trenic Taekwon-Do Academy
members along with fellow UK ITF member Emily Oakes travelled down to Gilford to
compete at the UKTA English Championships. Open to all BTC members we knew the
talent was going to be of a very high standard, with all competitors determined
to take top spot on the podium.

Up first and eager to set the standard for the day was Trenic’s
up and coming black tags Paul Balayut and Krists Victor. Dominating at our
regional championships, is was time for our juniors to step outside their comfort
zone and face new challenges. Merged into the black belt division both Krists
and Paul battled their way to the quarter finals. Facing a very talent fighter
from Wales, Paul used him excellent timing and speed to counter his opponent strong
lead leg side kick. To close to call at the end of the second round the bout
was determined a draw. 30 seconds on the clock and it was time to pull out all
the stops. With the crowd cheering on from the stands as both competitors traded
kick for kick, we knew it was going to be a tough call for the judges. Unfortunately,
this was not to be Pauls day, having to settle for a well-deserved bronze medal.
Up next was Krists who was eager to raise the moral of Team Trenic.
  Facing a well-schooled black belt, Krists
grew in confidence as the fight progressed and toward the end of the second
round began to outwork and over power his opponent. Into the finals and it was
now time to compete for the gold. With a new-found confidence in his ability,
Krists came flying out the blocks putting his opposition on the back foot.
Round one over and the fight was still anyone’s to win. Round two and the boys
were back to business, showcasing a level of taekwondo sparring far beyond
their years. Although losing the fight, we are sure Krists will take confidence
from his performing and this will spur him on for the next big event.

Up next and competing in the cadet heavy weight sparring
division was Zack Porter and Coby Esegbona. On separate side of the draw, both
Coby and Zack were eager to step onto the ring and establish themselves as the division
favourites. With very different sparring styles, both Zack and Coby worked to
their strength to earn their way into the semi-finals. Up first to fight his
way to the finals was Zack. Planting his feet and throwing strong hand
combinations Zack planned to out skill his man. Unfortunately, he was unable to
take the win, leaving the hopes for the gold in Coby’s hands. After a well fought
semi-finals bout, Coby now faced a tough and well trained opponent in the
finals. With very little separating the two fighters, the bout was called a
draw. 30 seconds on the clock and with Coby leading the score card, a last
second head kick saw the decision sway the way of his opponent, leaving Coby to
take a well fought silver medal.

Fighting next and looking to take our first gold of the day
was Lawrence Liboro. In a busy division, Lawrence used his strong pump side
kick style to overwhelm him opponents, forcing them out of the ring and out the
competition. This was a style that worked well for the young fighter, leading
to our first gold medal for UK ITF and a much-needed confidence boost for our
juniors yet to compete.

Looking to continue the medal hall was Katie Hetherington,
Dolci Grove and Emily Oakes in the junior female degree patterns. In a division
filled with talent, each of our juniors performed to the best of their ability
wowing the crowd with their strength of movement and excellent leg control. The
results table saw Dolci Grove securing Bronze whilst Emily blew the opposition
away to take the much-sought after English Championship Title.

Confident from patterns, our junior girls looked to continue
their success in the 14-17yrs sparring divisions. Up first was Katie
Hetherington. Having to adapt to new sparring rules for the event, Katie used
her lead leg strength and flexibility to keep her opponent away and pick clear
head shots with jump punches. This style worked well for Katie who cruised
through the competition to take top spot on the podium. Quick to follow suit
was both Emily and Dolci who also secured gold in spectacular fashion,
highlighting once again the talent progressing through the ranks of the UK ITF.

It was now time for our junior boys to step into the ring and
follow the lead of our girls. Up first were Leonard and Balaj competing in the
st Degree division as well as Ryan and Jason competing in the 2nd
Degree category. As with all our competitors, our junior boys gave 100% on the
floor, performing both with confidence and professionalism.
 After close contested bouts Ryan earned a
bronze medal with the remaining competitors falling just short of the medal

Looking to make amends in the sparring, our junior boys now
looked more fired up than ever. Up first to compete was Leonard Liboro. With the
crowd cheering on from the side lines, Leonard took the fight to his first
opponent firing well timed kick and punch combinations. Bout one under his belt
it was time to move into the finals. Against a much taller opponent Leonard
knew this was going to be tough. As the bell sounded to begin the match,
Leonard looked to close the distance between himself and his opponent, outworking
him on the inside. This was a game plan that proved effective for Leonard, who
by the end of the match took the win by unanimous decision. Up next was Balaj
Hussain. Merged into the hyper weight division, Balaj knew that speed would be
the key to winning. After a tough first fight Balaj looked confidence stepping
into the finals against a seasoned junior competitor. Trading shot for shot with
neither competitor giving up, this soon became a true crowd pleaser. As time
was called on the bout, Balaj had to concede the win, losing by split decision
but taking a much-deserved silver medal. Jason Morrison was next to enter the
ring. After a successful winning streak at recent competitions, Jason entered
the ring relaxed with an air of confidence. This was soon put to test when
facing a taller, equally experience competitor, fighting on his home turf.
Although Jason lost the match we know this will encourage him to return to the
gym and train even harder for the next big event. Up next competing in sparring
was Ryan Meredith. Looking strong from the word go, Ryan put the pressure on
his opponent and over two round dominated the fight. Unfortunately, and to the
upset of the team, Ryan received a warning and point deduction during the first
round of the bout, leaving Ryan an uphill battle to win. Although disappointed
to lose, Ryan took confidence from the fight which we are sure will spur him on
for his next big challenge……. the UK ITF Finals Day.

It was now time for our adults to perform, and after a long
day of waiting, our adult squad were eager to compete. Representing Trenic as
members of UK ITF were Gemma O’Connor, Aaron Mather, Ryan Hamdy and Harry
Evans. Although performing strong pattern, Gemma and Aaron had to accept early
losses against talented opposition, leaving them fired up to compete in the
sparring. This was however a successful start to the day for Ryan and Harry who
won bronze and silver in the 2
nd degree division. Moving onto
sparring and Harry was first to be called to ring. After dropping his opponent
to the floor during the opening seconds of the bout and scoring well-timed kicks
throughout the fight, we feel it was warning that cost Harry the final

Up next was Aaron Mather. Merged into the -70kg category we
knew this would be a tough challenge for the -64kg fighter. Earning his place
in the finals, Aaron was faced by a very experienced and talented competitor.
Although using superior ring craft, Aaron was unable to secure the win against
the much taller and heavier opponent. Our last male competitor to step into the
ring was Ryan Hamdy. Once again merged into the division above, we knew that
Ryan would have to change up his game plan. Good movement with well-timed
counter attacks was the new order of business. Although working hard throughout
the fight, the weight difference proved too much with Ryan struggling to work-out
and stamp his authority on the much taller and very talent -65kg fighter.

Up last to compete was Gemma O’Connor. Currently holding the
ITF sparring World Title, Gemma entered the ring ready to win. Breezing through
her first fight, Gemma began to relax into her performance, working her strong
lead leg kicks and well timed hook punches. By the end of the final bell, Gemma’s
experience and talent proved far too much for opponent leaving Gemma once again
to take top spot on the podium.

A successful day for all, we would like to congratulate the
competitors that travelled down to represent UK ITF at the event as well as the
coaching team; Mr Brunger, Miss Cornwell and Mr Dempsey who worked tirelessly
throughout the day to ensure the team were well supported. We would also like
to send our thanks and appreciation to the UKTA for hosting and inviting our
team to such a well-run and professional event.

Written by: UK ITF Admin - 22nd March 2017

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