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The International Irish Championships
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The International Irish Championships
The 2007 edition of the International Irish Championships was organised by Patricia Dalton (V) and was held in Neptune Stadium, Cork, City in November. This year’s event featured 194 black belts on the Saturday with colour belts competing on the following day. The full international flavour of the event was evident by the fact that 60% of all black belts were foreign. There were multiple associations featured from England, Germany, Netherlands and Italy while Scotland, Belgium, Northern Ireland and Wales were also represented by large contingents.

The International Irish Championships has now become Europe’s premier annual Taekwon-Do competition. The foreign contingent was particularly strong in the lady’s sections. Silvia Farigu of Italy was the only black belt to win both tul and matsogi in the entire competition. Her performance of Moon Moo thrilled the large crowd in attendance. Lea Fendt (GTI) of England put up an excellent performance in a large light weight section by beating Ireland’s Laobhaoise Keane in a well contested final. The ladies heavyweight section was dominated by England with Claire Kershaw eventually taking the gold medal.

Ireland did especially well in the men’s sections. Most of the sections had over 16 competitors. Harum Oezuemir (Lyong Ho Germany) beat last year’s champion James Stack (Ireland) in the Microweight section. Ireland dominated the Lightweights with John O’ Connor beating his Listowel club make John Spence in the final. The middleweights was another all Irish affair with Stephen Edwards (Tralee) beating Leon Brydone (Athlone) in a tactical encounter. The men’s heavyweight section was the largest. Tralee’s David O’ Sullivan beat Hendry Blok’s of the Netherlands after extra time. The Hyperweight final also went to extra time with three time champion (-80kg) Tim Kool of the Netherlands eventually beating seven time champion Sean Keane in a pulsating match. The Kool family had further celebrations with sister Corina Kool winning the lady’s middleweight sparring. Ireland won three of the five black belt patterns sections (Maxine Hand Greg Lechmar and Mark Philpott) while Italy (Silvia Farigu) and Netherlands (Emiel Kloor) landed the other two divisions.

The Celtic Team Cup:
The junior sections of the Celtic Cup were all Irish finals. The IUTF boys and girls defeated their INTA rivals in two friendly but hard fought finals. The age advantage of the IUTF teams was critical as most of the IUTF juniors had a two year advantage over their INTA opponents. Each bout was competitive and closely fought and both groups were left with a feeling of mutual respect and friendship at the end. Sadly the IUTF senior ladies team had to pull out due to injuries. This left a spirited battle between Master Brown’s Scottish team and team England (GTUK). As with all Scottish-English encounters this proved to be close and hard fought with both sides giving 100%. In the end, team Scotland took the gold to the delight of their large group of supporters.

The men’s section of the Celtic Cup featured eight teams. England (GTI, MWTA, IUTF England), Germany, Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland (IUTF, Focus) all entered strong selections in the prestigious event. Team IUTF featured three members of the Irish team which won team gold in the ITF World Championships, while MWTA featured the current ITF world Hyperweight champion Richard Belle amongst others. In the end these two teams won through to the final and after five bouts the result was a draw! It was Richard Belle who sealed the victory for the English visitors with another fine performance by one of the ITF’s new stars. The crowd of over 1500 gave a standing ovation to both teams.

ITF Ireland President Mr. Don Dalton said afterwards “This year had been unbelievable for Ireland. Ireland’s men’s team Ireland’s women’s team both won the team sparring in the ITF World Championships in Birmingham. It showed how the various organisations can work together for the benefit of the country. IUTF black belts competed in Ghana (funded), Agrentina (funded), Germany (funded), and England (funded). They also travelled to compete in Bulgaria and Germany on other occasions. Our members have had the opportunity to train under President Choi in England, Bulgaria and the Netherlands and we have run 10 IUTF competitions in 2007. It has been a fantastic year. We already have a plan of action for 2008 which will live up to our high standards. One of the greatest highlights will be the International Instructor’s Course under President Choi Jung Hwa at the end of March. We have trips planned for England, Korea, Germany, Uruguay, USA and Italy. Master Maidana will conduct a series of ten workshops in February and Master Lecca will conduct a workshop after the black belt sparring in next year’s International Irish Championships. We are also planning to host Master Galarraga for a number of workshops and an International Referee Course. I would like to thank all the associations, both national and international, for supporting the International Irish Championships. I would like to pay special thanks to the referees and judges who worked so tirelessly throughout the weekend and to the IUTF instructors who have helped make this event a must in the European Taekwon-Do calendar.”

Male Matsogi:

Microweight:
1. Harum Oezuemir (Germany)
2. James Stack (Ireland)
3. Tim Tierney (Ireland)

Lightweight:
1. John O’ Connor (Ireland)
2. John Spence (Ireland)
3. Paul Manning (Ireland)

Middleweight:
1. Stephen Edwards (Ireland)
2. Leon Brydone (Ireland)
3. Jermaine Hemmings (England)

Heavyweight:
1. David O’ Sullivan (Ireland)
2. Hendry Bloks (Netherlands)
3. Nik Purves (Scotland)

Hyperweight:
1. Tim Kool (Netherlands)
2. Sean Keane (Ireland)
3. Gavin Williamson (England)

Female Matsogi:

Microweight:
1. Silvia Farigu (Italy)
2. Lucy Wolf (England)
3. Julie Scott (Scotland)

Lightweight:
1. Lea Fendt (England)
2. Labhaoise Keane (Ireland)
3. Maxine Hand (Ireland)

Middleweight:
1. Corine Kool (Netherlands)
2. Emma Mulgrew (England)
3. Liz McKenna (Scotland)


Heavyweight:
1. Claire Kershaw (England)
2. Helen Cleary (England)
3. Fran Lane (England)

Female Tul:
1st/2nd Dan:
1. Maxine Hand (Ireland)
2. Romina Kolesnik (Germany)
3. Claire Kershaw (England)

3rd/4th Dan:
1. Silvia Farigu (Italy)
2. Liz MCKenna (Scotland)
3. Janice Connolly (Ireland)

Male Tul:
1st Dan:
1. Greg Lechmar (Ireland)
2. Dougie Chalmers (Scotland)
3. James Stack (Ireland)

2/3rd Dan:
1. Emiel Kloor (Netherlands)
2. Michael Belle (England)
3. Jon Mackey (Ireland)

4th Dan:
1. Mark Philpott (Ireland)
2. Nik Purves (Scotland)
3. Luke Hall (England)

Written by: Don Dalton - 17th December 2007

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