As the saying goes, "hard work pays off".
This is what our competitors have been doing, staying focused and trained hard for the biggest ITF event in the world, the ITF World Championship. This year the championship was held in the beautiful city Minsk, the capital of Belarus. This is not the first time a huge event like this is held here. Each time the event gets bigger and better.
Hungry for a podium finish and to test their skills against the world bests, our competitors sacrificed many hours and weekends training at home, in the park and dojangs. Not only physical training and conditioning were given by the instructors but mental and psychological sessions were importantly incorporated into getting our competitors in top form.
It seems like Australia has the lesser advantage than it's northern hemisphere competitors. Many a time Australian competitors leaving the country from the cold season to compete come down with cold or flu. This time round three of our four competitors have cold, injured knees and hips. Albeit the illness and injuries, our competitors soldiered on with positive mind and confidence to the very welcoming host of the championship.
Our proud competitors are:
Joe Lee 1st Dan
Pattern - taking on Kyrgyztan and loosing to Argentina.
Sparring - lost to Argentina, beating Canada but lost to Greece to secure a place in the next round.
Special Technique - Unluckily Joe could not reach the target due to his hamstring injury.
Dmitri Stepanov 1st Dan
Pattern - Came out strongly and sharp but lost to Canada. Dmitri have an extra movement which caused him his next round.
Sparring - Dmitri was all fired up to face Mongolia and Japan with victory. Leading in points against Ukraine for the next 1st or 2nd place match up until the last 22 seconds when his Ukrainian opponent came back on top. Dmitri had to settled for a bronze medal which is an excellent result having to compete with his seasoned competitors in his first international championship.
Power - unable to match the Goliaths from Mongolia, Russian and other strong countries smashing many pieces of solid boards. We shall train harder to come back to this event.
Mayumi Tam 5th Dan
Pattern - was put in the same bracket on the fight chart against the many time World and European champion Linn Johansen. She took this as a good match against the best in the world. It is an honor bowing out to the veteran female pattern queen.
Sparring - Mayumi being the smallest in the championship had her coach's heart trembling. Winning over Scotland added more confidence to her pitt bull heart. Coming out against the championship fighter from Argentina has nothing to loose but everything to gain. Next fight in the first ever ITF World Championship Round Robin matches which added more experience the competitors, Mayumi's luck was even better; fighting the World and European veteran champion as well as WTF seasoned fighter from Kazakhstan definitely see Mayumi coming back for more ITFWCs.
Receiving her bronze medal for 5th Dan pattern was an honor and when the words "Mayumi Tam from Australia" followed by the "The Highest Technical Award" was announced we were all stunned but quickly turned into happy cheering with the Aussie flags flying up high. This is Mayumi's greatest achievement in her Taekwon-Do career and looking forward to more and other avenue to promote the art of Taekwon-Do.
Malik Hage 1st Dan
Malik is one tough nail that no one would like to mess with when his hip injury recovers.
He deserves a gold medal for his courage fighting with pain with the top fighters from Russia, Ukraine and Hellas in the round robin matches. Not many people get this golden opportunity to compete with the best in a row. For certain, Malik takes this as treasured experience to pave his way to his next world championship.
We are so proud that Overall Country Ranking Australia placed 12th place out of 60 countries. Juniors ranked 22nd and Veteran ranked 7th. The world has been looking up to Australia in the Veteran since the first Veteran ITF World Championship where coach and Master Tam Fook Chee won 3 gold, 1 silver and Overall World Champion. Australia no doubt one day be on top of the rank for this division.
Thank you to coach from TTM, Master Tam Fook Chee, Team Manager Cherryl Fitzgerald-Holmes and sponsors - Lyn Luong of Minchinbury Lighting and Dr. Michael Zhu.
Congratulations and also thank you to all our Taekwon-Do competitors, coaches and officials from interstate:
Jo Licastro, Leanne Searle, Patricia McQueen, Ian Greene, Brianna Burgess, Kelsie Williams, Astina Hammond, Jade Lynch, Jonathon Burgess, Patrick Ng,
Coaches - Master Jason Bradley, Sabum Justin Low
Official - GM Linda Low and GM Low Ming Tuck
Full result for the entire team is can be viewed on All Australia ITF Facebook or see here for full championship result.
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