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The International Taekwon-Do Championship 2012
The International Irish Taekwon-Do Championships 2012 event, hosted by Master Don Dalton, was held at Neptune Stadium, Cork City, 16th - 18th November. The weekend started on Friday16th with the arrival, into Cork airport, of the international teams from the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Wales to mention but a few of the participating countries. The IUTF crew had worked extremely hard, and, so I have been reliably informed, long into the night, setting up the nine fully matted rings, and a generous distribution all of the international flags and banners around the arena. Their diligence definitely paid off, the arena was a remarkable vision to honour the participants, as the teams walked through the main doors in to the arena. The Saturday was billed for black belt individual and team events. The day started with a lineup of all competitors and umpires, and what a sight it was, to see row after row of black belt competitors, with so many international flags flying high. With a bow and a reciting of the Tenets of Taekwon-Do by competitors and officials-Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit-the tournament was off and running. Nine rings with seven judges per ring, not to mention two relief teams of judges; this tournament offered continual action from start to finish, with many top matches happening at the same time. This is the kind of full on, world class event that puts a reporter under presser to bring to you coverage of all of the news. One of the high lights of the day was the final of the Ladies Black Belt team event, Ireland V England, under the guidance of the Irish Team Coach, Mr. John Mackey of Red Star Taekwon-Do & Kickboxing Dublin. The Irish Team was lead to the mats by their Team Captain, Sarah Sheehan from Mahon Taekwon-Do & Kickboxing Academy. With the two teams lined up, and if you had to wager on a winner, it looked like an English win all the way. To the untrained eye, every one of the Irish ladies appeared to be giving away a big size advantage to their English counter parts, but, as the saying goes, good things come in small packages. From the first punch to the last kick the English ladies didn't know what hit them; Ireland didn't lose a single match, out of the five fights, and were crowned "Celtic Cup" champions. Special congratulations to Mr. Michael Whitlock 3rd Degree, student of Master Raymond Gayle from Bristol, England; winner of the men's heavy weight sparring division and of the Cork Martial Arts Promotions, "Most Outstanding Performance Award." This marks the fourth Gold Medal Mr Whitlock has won at The International Irish Taekwon-Do Championships, which made him an uncontested choice for the most outstanding performance award On the Sunday morning of the Championship, as all the colour belts arrived for their competitions they were in for a treat. The final of the men's black belt team sparring is always held on the 2nd day of the championships to give the next generation of martial artists a chance to watch some of the world's best at work. In a repeat of the lady's victory the day before, Ireland V's England stepped out on the mats. Every seat in the area was full; the atmosphere was electrified with cheers of 'Come on Ireland' and an intermittent chorus of 'ole, ole, ole, ole, Ireland, Ireland.' All credit to the supporters, both the English who had travelled to Cork, and the home crowd, they showed equal sportsmanship, as both teams were given loud welcoming applause. With both teams boasting world champions, we knew this was going to be great set of matches, and, we were not disappointed. Ireland took the first two matches, and it looked to be 'in the bag,' but this English team was not here to make up the numbers, and soon the fight for the prize was back on. England took the third match, then up stepped Irish man, Leon Brydone, with a look of determination that would have made Mike Tyson think twice. Leon seized the victory for Ireland. If the Junior Competitors had not arrived ready for their day, they were in full competitive spirit now. Junior events ran very quickly, and considering the extensive number of contestants, this was a testament to the organisation and management of this tremendous event. What an awe-inspiring day, a truly great weekend, and an all round commendable Martial arts event in Cork. Date for your diary 23rd - 24th November 2013 International Irish Taekwon-Do Championships and Celtic Team Cup.