This year the Taekwondo World Championships were hosted by TAGB in the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. The competition brought in thousands of the best competitors from over 20 countries with some coming from as far as Australia and the USA. A few students from NUIG had the privilege of being chosen by the TKDI (Taekwondo Ireland) international team to represent their country at this massive event and safe to say they most definitely did, bringing home medals from various sections of the competition over the course of the 2 days.
The Irish team showed up in force on the day being the second largest team with hundreds of competitors, second in size only to the host team TAGB. The NUIG competitors all saw action on the first day as all colour belt events and black belt point sparring took place then.
All colour belt pattern sections went first but little luck was found here with Aaron Croke barely missing out on a podium finish in a very close event. More luck was had later in the ring however in the sparring section. First up was the lightweight green belt section, however with no other lightweights present Nathan Huggins made the choice to compete in the middleweight section. This didn’t stop him though as he won his first fight by a large margin and kept up the pace in his later flights only to lose out to his Irish teammate in the final walking away with silver. Aaron, fighting in what was one of the largest categories at the competition unfortunately missed out in his fight in the heavyweight red belt section in a vicious bout against the world champion in his category. Lorcan McCarthy, fighting in the heavyweight yellow belt section, unfortunately, missed out in his fight by a single point in the last few seconds after an extremely close fight. Agata Rzeznik had a better run managing to make it into the quarter-final in the ladies blue belt section where she earned a bronze medal after a tough match.
On the second day was all of the black belt events. Roisin took part in both sparring and patterns. Unfortunately, she too lost out in an extremely tough fight against the competitor who went on to become the world champion of the female black belt section.
Sparring was only the beginning of the success for the group however as they then went on to win 3 more medals in the ultimate striker section. Lorcan achieved second place, walking away with silver in the colour belts heavyweight turning kick section. Nathan managed to walk away with gold from this section, taking first place in the colour belts lightweight turning kick section. Roisin scored second and held that position throughout the whole second day with no other competitor able to top her score in the female black belt turning kick section meaning a third silver for the NUIG group.
In the end, the group walked away from the world championships with a gold, 3 silvers and a bronze medal doing particularly well in the Ultimate Striker. One thing is for sure: you don't want to be on the receiving end of their kicks!