Around 400 martial arts athletes, plus officials and supporters descend on Pulman Arena this weekend for the New Zealand Taekwon-Do Championships with a number of world champions and rising stars taking part.
The national tournament has been held every year since 1981 and on this occasion it is the turn of Counties Manuka to host the tournament 13-14 July. The home region is the defending champion team after winning the title for the past three years and they have the largest team entered with over 100 competitors.
One of the event organisors, Natasha Iotua says it’s a great honour to host the tournament and a lot of hours have been put into the set up and execution of the event.
“There’s been a lot of work put in to the nationals for the set up and from the athletes, young and old in their preparation. The excitement has been building for Counties Manukau for the first time ever, we welcome our Taekwon-Do Family from around Aotearoa and across the ditch to the heart of our region, Pulman Arena in Papakura. It’s great to play host to so many competitors, officials and supporters coming together for the weekend which will be full of technique, power, coordination and collaboration.”
“Counties Manukau will again be defending their title We have our current World Champ gold medallists Carter Hall (Junior 1st Dan Patterns) and Courtney Weir (senior women’s 1st Dan Patterns) as well as other medal winners such as Matt Bowden and Angel Pilcher and there’s plenty of rising stars from Counties Manukau and other regions too.”
There’s a strong club presence from Tauranga, Palmerston North, Levin, Wellington, Australia and Christchurch with competitors such as Alex Petrovich from the Southern Cross TKD Academy in Palmerston North who won a silver and two bronze medals at the world champs earlier this year where the New Zealand finished third overall. Petrovich will be busy during the tournament competing in Patterns, Sparring, Power, Specialty and Pre-Arranged.
Competitors ages range from young teens to over 50 , with many families having multiple entrants. There are four members of the van de Wiel family; Karauria, Kawhena, Kaya, Martienus from the Berhampore club in Wellington.
Competition time runs from 8.30am until around 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday in different disciplines; patterns, sparring, power and specialty there is plenty going on at all times.