They are the unheralded Kiwi world champions. You may not be aware of them, but they are about to defend their world title yet again
The New Zealand International Taekwon-Do world championship team departs later this week for the world champs in Dublin. The 58-strong team comprises of seniors (over 18 years) and juniors (12 – 18 years) with results from both contributing towards the overall placing of a nation. And again New Zealand is one of the favourites.
Despite not being overly recognised in their own country, the team are consistent performers around the world and the sport is still creating an impacting in New Zealand.
“They are a pretty inspiring team of athletes who keep on coming up with the results. The may be unheralded, however the International Taekwon-Do community is very proud of them,” says CEO Mike Thompson.
“As an organisation International Taekwon-Do is proud to be the single biggest martial arts organisation in New Zealand. This has been achieved through consistent year on year growth through the quality of our people and programmes; from TKD Kubz to KiwiSport. The quality of the programme is evidenced by the success we enjoy in international competition. We have produced world champions regularly and have been number one nation overall in 2011 and 2015,” says Thompson.
For team manager and former world cup champion Nathan Bowden, who trains out of the Southern Cross Taekwon-Do Academy in Palmerston North the Kiwi athletes attending the world champs have a special characteristic about them.
“Success doesn't come without hard work, everyone knows that but I do believe that these New Zealand teams have a quality that is unique to them. In all competitions I've been to, Kiwis have a genuine support and admiration for each other's success. An ability to be proud of others performances regardless of their own and a built in supportive attitude in times of success and loss.”
“In addition New Zealand International Taekwon-Do has exceptional masters, coaches and instructors nationwide. We are admired worldwide for our standards and prove this over and over. To be part of this team as a manager and see the continuation of these attributes just cements that all these characteristics are alive and well and will take us to this year's world champs with the same winning formula which admired worldwide however we remain relatively quiet about this success here at home.
“Amongst the outstanding performance of so many Kiwis it's hard to get noticed but what I'd like everyone to know is that our success is spread across the team, male and female from all backgrounds. Almost every category we compete in has had a New Zealand world champion. We represent New Zealand from all areas of kiwi life and show every year that anyone can become a champion setting a great example for our communities,” said Bowden.
here are a large number of current and former world champions in the current team including Wellington’s Wesley Filiki for his board breaking, Frances Lloyd a 1st Dan from the Silla Club in Tauranga who attends Tauranga Girls College, Alex Petrovich from Palmerston North who was a top junior at the last world champs. Also well as Melissa Bray (nee Timperley) from Counties Manukau, Roisin Giles (Auckland), Carl Van Roon, Mark Trotter and a number of others.
New Zealand was the top country at the last 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.
The team departs from Auckland this Friday evening.