Focus Taekwondo gain National medalists

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Focus Taekwondo gained 4 new National medalist over the Weekend of 16th and 17th September! The team took 6 competitors to the championships and came away with a record 4 medals!

Throughout the year Focus Taekwondo compete in domestic and international competitions on a regular basis, on an average attending competitions at the very least once a month. All these competitions are in the build up for the main event of the year ‘The British National Championships’. Last year we took a team of 6 just like this year but we gained one extra medal! It was also harder this year due to some players moving up age groups, weight groups, and up int the advanced category! The team for the 2017 championships, Chris, Byron, Sean, Lewis, Natasha and Mason. 

The British National Championships was this year held in its more known location ‘Manchester Sport City’ in the Velodrome centre! Manchester is the home of GB Teakwondo so it was nice to be back there after been hosted in London last year!

Focus Taekwondo took a team of 6 to the Championships over the 2 days and managed to gain 4 medals!

On the first day was the Novice category section where we had Natasha fighting, Last year Natasha managed to gain a silver medal narrowly missing out in the final, having 2 matches! This year Natasha secured her status as the second best fighter in England after placing Silver again, but this year she had to work even harder. Natasha was not fighting in the weight category she normally fights in (-67kg) instead she was competing in the -73kg category, also unlike last year she had to have 3 fights to secure the silver medal. This meant she had to win at least 1 fight to get a medal!

Her first fight (Quarter final), came up against a competitor from Wales, Natasha put in a very strong performance and finished the match with a 20 point stoppages meaning the match didn’t go the distance, final score 25-4! Her second match was in the semi final again Natasha was very strong in this match and won comfortably 19-8, unfortunately picking up 2 serious injuries in this match. Very tired and in a degree of pain Natasha went into the final against a good fighter she has previously beaten before, The final a very entertaining match with a very high score. Unfortunately Natasha lost out 36-23, a badly fractured foot and tendon damage proved too much and her competitor was by far fresher, only having 1 match which didn’t go the distance! But nevertheless a great achievement 2 times British Silver medalist!

Day 2 was the category of the advanced competitors, Chris, Byron, Lewis, Sean and Mason.

The first competitor to take to the mat was Byron, Byron was coming into the championships as the number 1 seed meaning he had picked up the most points throughout the year. Byron first match was in the quarter final not a medaling position so this was a huge match as Byron has never medaled in a National Championships before, and this was his goal for the year. Byron had to go through a strong opponent from Northern Ireland who had already beaten his previous opponent in the previous round! The Match was a very close and tense match swinging from 1 competitor winning to the other! Byron remained strong and kept his discipline as his opponent committed a few foul blows to the legs, Byron eventually took the match 19-17!

Byron semi final match was against a player he has previously beaten this year, unfortunately Byron couldn’t quite get the better of his opponent on this day meaning he had to settle for a Bronze medal! Again not a bad result, only his 3rd ever British Championships and in a very strong competitive group, securing himself as the 3rd best fighter in England. With another year in the Junior division next year could be even better for Byron.

The next competitor to take to the mat was Chief Instructor and 1 of 2 Coach’s for the Championships Chris, The British Championships aren’t quite a new experience for Chris with this being his 11th in a row! However Chris had decided to move up to a higher weigh group and one of the most competitive groups -68kg! Chris had suffered a bad chest infection in the build up to the championships meaning he couldn’t train for 2-3 weeks in the run up! With this in the back of his mind he went into the first match with a lot of pressure as he needed to win the match to guarantee a medal and came up against a stronger/taller opponent who has represented GBR at Junior level! Chris kept the match tight not giving anything away and not wasting any energy, the match was very close and tense ending in a draw 7-7! In this situation the match goes on for one extra round and the first person to score a point wins! Chris reacting first in the golden point round taking the match.

Chris now in the semi final with a guaranteed medal felt a little more relaxed and again against a taller stronger opponent scored some great shots giving him the victory 20-10 putting him in the final against an old rival from Liverpool.

Chris now in the final has beaten his opponent in the past but also previously lost too, so this had shaped for a great match! The match didn’t let down as both competitors scored some great shots and was an exciting match to watch unfortunately Chris just lost out 19-16. Chris now ranked number 2 in England has now managed to medal in the national championships 5 years in a row.

Next up was Lewis the youngest competitor of the team, this was Lewis second national championships. This years was is hardest yet as he has this year just moved up into the higher age group, higher weight group and into the advanced category! This didn’t stop Lewis putting in his best ever performance against a much more experienced opponent! Lewis had got himself into the semi final against the strong opponent, all the other competitors had another match which can be a good thing to gain some confidence or a bad thing if you fatigue or cause injury! Lewis’s opponent was a year older than him and has competed in the national championships 3 more times! also winning the championships in a previous year! Nonetheless a great effort and a Bronze medal well earned! With another 2 years in the child category the future is bright for this young lad.

Sean was our next competitor, Sean is a very experienced Karate fighter and has been doing Taekwondo for a couple of years now. Although Sean isn’t too experienced in Taekwondo competition yet he showed great potential and could be very successful. Adapting from one martial art to another isn’t easy, but to go to his first national championships with very little experience and not get out skilled is a very positive sign! The next 12 months could be a very successful time for him and 2018 national championships could be his year to get a medal.

Last but not least was our Cadet fighter Mason, Mason has improved loads in the past 6 months and is constantly being praised by other coaches for his skills and attitude. Although Mason wasn’t able to secure a deserved medal he showed just how much he has improved. The competitor he lost out to is the same competitor he lost out to in the 2016 championships, however last year Mason lost by a point gap decision and got very frustrated! This year was a very close match between the 2, infact after the first round the score was tied. Mason only ended up losing by 7 points which is potentially only 2 kicks! Although Mason was disappointed not to claim a medal he has shown that he has a great future and like Lewis has 2 years left in the current category!

A mention for Coach Terri has to be said, Terri is a very experienced elite athlete and was the current British Champion but due to a serious ACL injury she couldn’t defend her title. This was Terri first time every coaching in an event and she did an absolute amazing job, Terri coached Chris for all 3 matches and coached Sean. She showed great coaching skills, man management and tactical knowledge! When she decides to retire as a competitor and coach fully she will make a great coach and Focus Taekwondo are lucky to have her.

Finally Chris would just like to say that he is extremely proud of his fighters for how they conducted their selfs inside and outside of the ring! We are a relatively new club but we are vastly improving the team gives 110% into every session and the results are starting to show regardless of medals!

Out of 82 teams that entered the British National Championships and most clubs enter a lot more fighters than we did, we managed to place 42 as an overall team which for a club that has only attended their second national championships with 6 competitors is not bad at all!

 

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