Last Friday our Taekwondo team piled into a minibus and headed towards their biggest competition of the year, the BSTF National University Taekwondo Championships. Hosted by the University of Worcester, the competition saw our team facing off with students from 50 other UK universities.
In the first of two intense days Team Newcastle competed in patterns; though falling short of the podium, one of our two competitors, Xin Ni Shak, advanced to semi-finals in the large Class B female category, competing even against higher grades.
Our big victories came however in the following day’s sparring competitions. Eight of our members competed across all categories, male and female. After three fights, the latest addition to Newcastle University Taekwondo, Ilias Konstantinou, gained third place in the male B class -68kg category.
Second-time competitor Courtney McQuillan retrieved another bronze medal (female C +78kg) for Newcastle for the second year running, putting up a good fight despite the technical difficulties with the scoring system that caused her match to be paused 30 seconds into the first round. First Dan black belt Andy Hicks (male A class -54kg) won our third bronze; he held his own against his fourth Dan opponent, fighting well despite ultimately receiving the lower score.
[pullquote]Four of Newcastle's medallists are new additions to the club this year[/pullquote]
Another new member of NUTKD, yellow-belt and first-time competitor Andrew Choules, won silver for Newcastle in male class C -87kg, admirably participating in his second fight despite breaking his arm in the qualifying round.
Finally, an especially warm round of applause goes to Sam Owen, who came in first place in his first competition (male class C -68kg), winning his first two matches by more than 10-point differences. In his final fight, his opponent forfeited the match after receiving three kicks to the head in the first thirty seconds.
The day ended victoriously for Newcastle, giving competitors some great results to celebrate during the long journey home during the night. We are especially proud that four of our medallists are new additions to the club this year; the future looks promising for Team Newcastle Taekwondo.