INTA Open International Report
The 11th edition of the INTA Open International ITF Taekwon-Do Championships took place over the weekend of 13th & 14th March at the National Basketball Arena. It was a very good competition, despite a late start on Saturday and some scheduling issues which resulted in the day running until after 8.30pm. There were over 600 competitors taking part representing clubs from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland. There were a number of current and former ITF World Champions taking part including;
Luke Woods (2009 ITF World Champion, -63kg Sparring)
Saturday was a long day, but the highlights were Dylan Fitzgibbon’s performances taking two Gold and the title of best Junior Black Belt. Dylan was a class beyond all other competitors in his division and again was a pleasure to watch. Sunday was an absolute thriller for Taekwon-Do enthusiasts to watch. There were memorable performances in; IV-VI Dan Patterns where Stephen Ryan defeated Graham Patterson and Hong Looi defeated Nick Symons to qualify for the semi-finals. Hong’s hard work on his patterns paid off in winning the decision over Stephen in the semis only get piped at the post losing out to Norway in the final and taking silver.
In the sparring categories one of the best matches was between the current and former -63kg world champions when England’s Matt Cadle fought our own Luke Woods. It was a cracking match, full tilt for the entire duration with Luke proving to have the edge. Luke went on to win the division and is in sublime form ahead of the Euros. In the -71kg middle weight category, there were some good competitors from Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. The final proved to be an all ITA affair with Hong Keat Looi and Stephen Ryan facing off. Stephen had the tactical edge having worked out a counter for Hong’s trademark zig zag blitz and a back kick at the bell sealed the deal in what was otherwise an extremely close encounter.
Darren Smith was in fine form in the -80kg Heavyweight section. Recording wins over Vice World Champion, Arto Alahäivälä from Sweden and the up and coming Alvydas Jankauskas from Red Star Sport TKD to set up the final against Neil Ernest from Wales. Unfortunately Neil had to pull out of the final with an injury. Daren showed his pedigree by then winning Gold in Power Test and earning the Best Overall Black Belt trophy. In the hyperweights Shane O'Rourke and Alan McDonagh were best of the Irish, with Alan qualifying for the final against Sweden, but after a hard fight came out second best this time.
Irish Taekwon-Do Association would like to thank the organisers for a great weekend. Well done to Mr. Dave Elson, Tournament Director and his team. We hope to see all competitors, umpires and coaches back on the mats at the ITF Taekwon-Do, ITA Irish Cup. The invitation and full details will be released next week.ITA Admin