Mid Ulster Taekwondo students enjoy 'amazing success' at Open Championships in Dublin
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Northern Ireland National Coach, Leo Maguire, headed a team of 28 students from all over Northern Ireland at the annual championships.
Teams from every part of Ireland and some from as far away as Belgium and the Netherlands came together to compete for the title of Irish Champion in each of their divisions. Nine of the students on the Northern Ireland team were from Mid Ulster.
The competition was fierce from 9.30am to 5pm on Saturday, with medals available for Patterns, Sparring and Special Techniques. Divisions were created according to student rank, age, height and weight. Over 300 competitors took to the mats for a chance of glory.
The Northern Ireland team excelled, winning a total of 40 medals, 24 gold, seven silver and nine bronze. Every single one of the Mid Ulster students found a place on the podium in their respective divisions.
The nine youngsters brought home a total of 14 medals, eight gold, two silver and four bronze, with six of them being declared Irish Sparring Champions.
Fiachra Duggan, aged 11 from Lavey, won two golds and is now Irish Champion in sparring and patterns for his division.
“I really enjoyed competing in Dublin. It was great to go up against competitors from all over Ireland. We all get on so well and cheer each other on, even when we’re competing against each other,” said Fiachra.
The Heaney family from Magherafelt also had further success with all three who competed becoming Irish Sparring Champions, as well as winning two bronze medals in the Pattern category. A fourth member of the family, Conal Heaney, aged 21, provided valuable coaching support to the younger team members.
“It’s great to be able to help the younger ones achieve their potential on the mat. I’ve had some great opportunities to compete and won a fair few medals myself,” said Conal, “now I’m using that experience to help lift the team even further.”
Now the Dublin competition is over, Mr Maguire, Chief Taekwon-Do instructor for the area and President for Northern Ireland ITF is looking further afield for the next challenge. On Saturday he selected his team for the Berghem Open competition in the Netherlands in November.
“The whole team were amazing this weekend. They all work so hard and it was great to see them being rewarded with so many medals,” said Mr Maguire. “There’s a lovely group here in Mid Ulster, with the older, more experienced students always willing to help out and support the young ones that are just beginning their competitive careers. We’re all looking forward to the challenge of Berghem.”
For those interested in trying Taekwon-Do, classes are available in Cookstown and Dungannon Leisure Centres, Magherafelt Parish Centre or The Lurach Centre, Maghera. A free trial class is available and can be booked through the UKTC NI website.
Any businesses that may be interested in sponsoring future events held in Northern Ireland, or local students attending events in other countries should contact Leo Maguire on 07891191494 or email [email protected]