The ITF World Cup was held in Brighton from the 4rd-7th of October and what an event it turned out to be. 1600 competitors from 44 different countries and 163 different associations made this the largest tournament the ITF has ever held. Elite Taekwon-Do Academy attended with 2 competitors, Samy Lamari and Daniel Donnelly, 1 coach, Terry Donnelly, and 4 Supporters, Mohammud, Louise, and Hanna Lamari and Stephen Pagett.
Action began for the two lads with individual sparring on Thursday. Fighting in the Heavyweight division Samy was unfortunate to be drawn against not only the biggest man in his division, but at 6-6 and 105 kilos the biggest man in the whole tournament. Undeterred, Samy took the fight to his opponent from the off and at the halfway point was actually ahead. Unfortunately two head kicks from the big Norwegian left Samy with no way back and Samy had to bow out of this event, beaten but unbowed. Well done Samy. Yes!
Things were to go quite differently for Dan in the minus 58 kilo division.His movement, defense, and clean scoring allowed Dan to beat, in turn, Poland, England, and Sweden to put himself into Saturdays final against Israel. In the face of a very aggressive opponent Dan retained his composure to score some well placed side kicks and take a clear decision. Winner and World Cup Champion 2012, Daniel Donnelly.
Sunday was to give us 2 more medals in the Team Event. A third place finish to eventual winners Poland meant Elite were to return home with 3 medals from our 2 competitors. Hard to say who was the prouder parents in Brighton, myself or Mo and Louise. Either way I’m willing to call it a draw.
At the end of 4 days tough competition, there was a remarkable acheivement by the Irish Taekwon-Do Association when we took the trophy for finishing top of the medal classifications. To win this prestigious trophy at the ITFs biggest ever event is testament to the hard work that has been done over the last number of years by people at all levels of the Association. This was no accident and I hope that the competitors who today are reaping the rewards of this work, remember the seniors who build the platform for this success.
It would be remiss of me not to thank some people whose help and encouragement led to our success, the Lamaris whose constant good humour kept our lads relaxed right through, Stephen Pagett who gave tirelessly of himself over the week and indeed during the whole preparation for the event, Thank you so much! to Mark O Toole of St Cianans Boxing club Duleek for his most valuable input, to Mr Pat Barry during the regestration process and finally to all of our students at Elite Taekwon-Do Academy, their families, friends, and well wishers over this past week.