The New Zealand ITF Taekwon-Do team departs for the world champs in Jesolo, Italy early tomorrow (Friday) evening with an aim of finishing in the top three nations.
There are over 50 countries taking part in the tournament with Argentina, Canada, Italy, Norway, Russia, United States and New Zealand all having 50 or more junior and senior athletes competing.
For New Zealand team veteran, Mark Trotter the world champs in Italy will be his 14th including many medals to his credit. He recalls his first tournament being a little strange. “My first world champs was the juniors in 2000 in North Korea. It was a little crazy and I think I was just 15-years-old. I’m a bit more worldly now. At this world champs I’ll be competing in 4th-6th degree patterns and traditional sparring,” says Trotter who works full time as a stuntman around New Zealand for various movies and TV shows.
Other senior athletes who have either won or should come close to medals include the Manawatu duo of Estelle Spiers who won a sparring title at the 2013 world champs in Spain and her partner Kane Baigent who are taking part in their last world championships. Melissa Timperley from Manurewa who at 22 is already a world champion, as well as Carl Van Roon a multi world champion in the past and Roisin Giles who was a gold medalist two years ago.
There are four core events: Patterns; Sparring; Power Test; Special Technique. Within each of these events there are both individual and team categories. The categories are further split into junior (under 18) and senior (over 18) classifications, and there are separate male and female divisions. In the case of individual patterns, competitors are further classified by black belt rank, and individual sparring is split into six weight divisions. In addition to the four core events there is also Pre-arranged sparring, which is a pairs competition that has only junior and senior classifications
The world championships will be held 27-31 May 2015 at Jesolo, Italy with nations such as Poland, Argentina and Germany regarded as New Zealand’s biggest rivals for medals. New Zealand also has a strong junior team which will compete at the tournament.
New Zealand finished second at the 2009 World Champs in Argentina, won the tournament in Wellington in 2011 and was third in Spain in 2013.
The team is led by Gray Patterson the New Zealand national coach and a former world champion winning competitor.
Men: Allistair Villiers (Legacy, St Johns, Auckland), Brendan Doogan (DSP. Papatoetoe, Auckland), Carl Van Roon (Legacy, Auckland), Daniel McMillan (DSP, Mangere, Auckland), Joshua Campbell (Tribal, Otahuhu, Auckland), Mark Trotter (Legacy, Birkdale, Auckland), Mitchell Leong (DSP Papatoetoe, Auckland), Ogy Kabzamalov (Glenfield, Auckland), Riley Phillips Harris (Legacy, Kerikeri), Dane Canton (SCTA, Palmerston North), Devon O’Connor (PNTA, Palmerston North), Kane Baigent (PNTA, Palmerston North), Michael Davis (PNTA, Palmerston North), Nathan Bowden (SCTA, Palmerston North), Sean Neary (Legacy, Birkdale, Auckland), Wesley Filiki (Pilsung, Wellington).
Women: Courtney Weir (Paul McPhail Gym, Papakura, Auckland), Jackie Geurts (Legacy, Auckland), Melissa Timperley (Paul M Gym, Papakura, Auckland), Phillipa Henry (Legacy, Auckland), Roisin Giles (Warrior TKD, Auckland), Estelle Spiers (PNTA, Palmerston North), Toni Moki (Paul M Gym, Papakura, Auckland), Kara Timmer (HWA Rang, Tauranga), Suzanne Patterson (Pilsung, Wellington), Alexandra Couling (Warrior, Auckland).