Report by Nicholas Dang and Priscilla Lee
After almost two long days of flights and transits, the Australian team, coaches, umpires and supporters united at Novotel Plovdiv, tired but soon bouncing around at outdoor trainings with keen anticipation for the championships. Meditating and feasting on cucumbers and tomatoes, we mentally and physically prepared ourselves in the few free days preceding.
Through shared meals, Plovdiv Old Town exploration, and friendly competition in bowling and billiards, people from different states became further acquainted, developing our team bond.
On the first day of competition, the air was buzzing with nervous, excited energy. Arrival at the new, spacious, bright arena brought the reality of the situation to our minds and the focus and adrenaline kicked in. Our group moved along in navy and gold and spotted many countries, 81 in total, donning their respective team colours. Each country's best stepped onto the ring and performed to outshine and outscore their opponents over the four days of competition.
The high world standard was set by the consistently winning countries such as DPRK, Russia and Ukraine. Most of our team made it to the second round in individual pattern and sparring, some even to the third, but unfortunately was met with tough competition and did not move on to win medals. The brand new re-breakable boards were literally tough competition for everyone and our power breakers did not manage to qualify. Disappointed but not yet dispirited, the Aussies gave it their all in team sparring with our females against Tajikistan and our males against Russia. We lost but not without some close matches and good sportsmanship. The self-defence routines were spectacular and sharp, however our team lost to DPRK's.
Team sparring finals were held at the Plovdiv Roman Amphitheatre, the stone seats overflowing with competitors, supporters and local spectators. The warm evening and lit historic setting served as a striking and unique backdrop to the intense, lightning-fast sparring matches. The females were DPRK against Russia and males were DPRK against Ukraine. DPRK took both gold titles and the night ended with their increasingly familiar anthem blasted across the theatre, and finally, fireworks.
Despite our lack of shiny medals, those of us privileged enough to experience this eye-opening championship went home feeling inspired and renewed in determination to train harder and smarter. These were the results of representatives from Tam Taekwon-Do Mudokwan: -
Priscilla Lee (1st Dan) Individual pattern: 3-1 win against Spain, and then 0-5 loss to Ukraine (finished in the round before quarter-finals).
Nicholas Dang (2nd Dan) Individual pattern: bye, then 4-1 win against Puerto Rico, and then 1-3 loss to U.S.A (U.S.A. eventually finished 3rd) (finished in the round before quarter-finals). Team sparring: bye, and then Australia lost 0-3 to Russia (individually sparred against Evgeny Otsimik, who is the world champion for his individual sparring weight division for the past three consecutive senior world championships (2011, 2013, 2015) Nick is so proud that he has finally get to fight with the world best and nothing to lose being defeated by the champion but not without giving him a good fight.
Jacek Leszczynski (3rd Dan) Individual sparring: 3-1 win against India, and then 0-4 loss to Hellas (finished in the round before quarter-finals). Team sparring: bye, and then Australia lost 0-3 to Russia. Jacek was lucky enough to fight with the giant of the Russian team. What an experience for Jacek. Team power breaking: did not get to compete.
SM Tam Jury President in Ring number 5. Keeping all the umpires and events under control.
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