There’s a conservative air of confidence for the New Zealand ITF Taekwon-Do team as they prepare for the World Championships later this year in Dublin, Ireland where the Kiwi competitors will again be one of the strong favourites for the team title.
The 58-strong team which comprises of seniors (over 18 years) and juniors (12 – 18 years) with results from both contributing towards the overall placing of a nation. Head coach Gray Patterson from Wellington, a former world champion himself, says there’s been real effort put in by the team in their preparation.
“Our Ireland 2017 campaign kicked off in February this year. In addition to their own individual training, team members have been attending weekly High Performance training sessions and monthly team camps since February, so managing workload, mitigating injuries, and maintaining motivation over such a long period has been challenging. In addition to physical training, many team members have also been working hard to raise funds to cover the costs of competing overseas - as a minority pursuit, financial support can be hard to come by,” said Patterson who is keen to see the team continue its remarkable and successful run of results on the world stage.
“The vast majority of the team competed at the International Taekwon-Do National Championships in July in order to gain all-important ring time and to get an idea of general preparedness. Performances were generally encouraging and according to plan, indicating that training is on track for the October World Championships.
There are now less than two months and only one training camp remaining until the team departs for the World Championships, so our priority is focussing all efforts on ensuring all of our athletes arrive fully prepared and in peak condition,” said Patterson.
Coaches for the team comprise of Patterson and assistants Brendan Doogan, Chris Broughton, and Richard Burr with additional support from Master Paul McPhail, Suzanne Patterson and other regular contributors, most of whom have won medals on the world stage during their careers.
The New Zealand club with the most representatives in the team is Team Legacy Taekwon-Do out of Mt Albert in Auckland with nine athletes. The ages of the competitors range from 37 as the oldest to the junior competitors of which there are a few 14-year-olds from around the country
The full team has its last practice together at Rosehill College over the weekend Saturday and Sunday 9th and 10th September. Over that weekend the team will finish its training, plus have a presentation of uniforms and gear bags as well as haka performance for family and supporters.
New Zealand was the top country at the world championships held in Italy in 2015, third two years previously in Spain and triumphed when the world champs were held in Wellington in 2011. The world championships in Dublin will be held October 9-16, 2017 with around 1200 competitors from over 50 nations expected to take part.