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The New Zealand sporting landscape can celebrate global success after Kiwi competitors once again dominated ITF Taekwon-Do world by being the leading nation at the world cup in Sydney over the past week. Held over four days at the Sydney Olympic Park the tournament hosted over 1000 competitors from 35 countries with 342 coaches 202 officials..
The large team of Kiwis from around the country represented their clubs as well as a nation and finished well ahead of nearest rivals Australia with Argentina third. New Zealand won a total of 175 medals, 61 of them gold, while Australia were second with 27 gold and Argentina had 25 gold. Twenty seven nations appeared on the medal table.
The leading New Zealand club was Paul M Papakura which contributed 28 medals in total, second only to a united contingent from Uzbekistan. Hwa Rang - Tauranga, Van Roon Martial Arts - Mt Eden and Southern Cross Taekwon-Do Academy- Palmerston North all finished in the top ten. Clubs from all round the country were well represented from KeriKeri to Mosgiel.
Up next is two-yearly world championships in Inzel,l Germany in 2019. Many of the competitors that attended world cup in Sydney will look to trial when they get back home for the National Team "Nga Kaponga" in the best of the best Black Belt only competition. New Zealand finished second at the word champs in Ireland last year.
According to 11-time world champion Carl van Roon, New Zealand proved once again it is the dominant force in the sport. His own club, Van Roon Martial Arts (VRMA) in Mt Eden placed seventh out of 127 club teams after making it a personal mission to raise the standard of sparring in New Zealand
“I want to build the next generation of champions and seeing so many New Zealanders do so well was a great boost. The next challenge is the prestigious world championships in 2019 at Inzell, Germany. It will be a considerable step up in terms of competition being right in the heart of the powerhouse that is European ITF Taekwon-Do. We’ve got no time to waste to meet the challenge.”
During the recent world cup in Sydney athletes competed in a variety of events such as Patterns (unopposed technical display), Sparring (points scoring against an opponent), Special Techniques (highest kick), Power Test (breaking Boards) to Team events in all disciplines.