On the 30th March, 2012, 13 students from Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy, along with their instructor (Stuart Anslow, 5th dan), travelled to the PUMA Open World Championships for a weekend of high level Taekwon-do competition.
The event was predominantly a black belt tournament, with over 300 quality black belts in attendance, including many national Taekwon-do squads. Senior coloured belts were allowed to enter as well - though hardly surprisingly, these were few and far between.
On day 1 of the event, Academy student Umar Marikar won the first medal of the whole event, picking up a gold medal. As the junior (u14's) events continued, other young members of the Academy also collected medals, including Abhijay Sood who collected 2 bronze medals and Suliman Majeed who fought a 'david and goliath' bout of sparring against a much larger opponent to win a well deserved bronze as well. Umar also picked up another bronze later in the day.
As the cadet (15 to 17 year olds) got under way, Imran Zaman won his division to earn a gold medal Liam Berry & Reza Hekmat earned a silver and bronze medal in their categories.
By late afternoon it was time for the adults to perform. By the end of the first lot of adult divisions, the three senior black belts from the Academy had won each of their individual divisions, with Vikram Gautam winning gold in the 3rd Dan black belt section, Lyndsey Reynolds winning gold in the female 1st to 4th dan black belt section, and Colin Avis winning gold in the 2nd dan pattern section. It was almost a clean sweep except for the 1st dan section, where Marek handzel had placed silver, with fellow students Richard Baker and David Harris taking the bronzes.
Day 2 saw the adult sparrings section and was a highly anticipated day of competition for everyone, as many National Taekwon-Do Associations had sent their top fighters. In these sections the Academy students were very much up against the best in the country and it saw Colin Avis face last years gold medallist in the very first round, which was a very royal rumble. Vikram Gautam did well and face an England Squad member in his second round, which although he narrowly missed out on a victory, earned his a lot of respect from all in attendance for a very tough and technical fight.
Just as we figured our fortunes had changed a little from the day before, student David Harris, who isn't even a black belt yet, did extremely well, winning early on (one competitor he faced was a 3rd Dan), only to end up facing one of the top fighters in the country, who, after a tough fight he lost to by a split decision, earning him a bronze medal - an amazing achievement. Whilst at the same time, on another ring Lyndsey Reynolds won her second gold of the event in the female sparring, with fellow student Kate Barry taking the bronze medal in the same division.
Once the individual sparring was over, the students witnessed a presentation of the event host being awarded his 8th dan black belt - a rare occasion anyway and something not normal witnessed in public, making it special indeed.
To finish off the day was the adult team events. Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy, being a single club, had just enough black belts to field a male team but were defiantly the under dogs as the other teams were Association teams (mean they get to select the best from their many clubs from around the county, under that association). Despite the challenge the Academy students place a very respectable 3rd in both sections (patterns and sparring).
As the event closed, the Academy students had between the 13 of them, won an amazing 28 medals, 6 of which were gold making 4 of the Academy students World Champions, with one a double World Champion and many others silver or bronze World medallists.
This amazing haul is testament to the quality of Rayners Lane Taekwon-Do Academy. And many of the judges, fellow competitors and officials made many great remarks about the Academy's students
PUMA Open World Championships
31st March/1st April 2012
Vikram Gautam - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Colin Avis - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Richard Baker - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Dave Harris - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Imran Zaman - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Marek Handzel - Bronze - Mens Team Patterns
Vikram Gautam - Bronze - Mens Team Sparring
Colin Avis - Bronze - Mens Team Sparring
Richard Baker - Bronze - Mens Team Sparring
Marek Handzel - Bronze - Mens Team Sparring
Dave Harris - Bronze - Mens Team Sparring
This was a high calibre, quality event.. with many many top competitors and fighters in attendance. We did well in the medals, but they do not tell the full story, especially in the sparring. I will list some of the moments below, after the medals list, for those that missed the event.
Some Memorable Moments from the event were:
- Umar Marikar winning the first medal of the event, and best of all.. it was a gold :-)
- Mr Gautam winning the 3rd Dan patterns, Mr Avis winning the 2nd Dan patterns, Mr Handzel placing Silver in 1st dan patterns.. whilst in the ladies (joint 1st to 4th Dan patterns) Miss Reynolds won Gold as well :-)
- Dave Harris (1st kup) fighting and doing really well (much to his opponents surprise) against a rated ITF England Squad member
- Suliman Majeed.. as the tiny 'David' in against the other Goliaths in his division - now that takes real guts, and gained a lot of respect from everyone watching.
- Mr Gautams extremely close call against another highly rated England ITF squad member - losing on a split decision!
- Mr Baker, Miss Barry and Mr Handzel.. not long from passing their black belts at their 1st black belt comp (well Marek did one before to be fair) and a World Championship level event at that.. and all representing really well.. its all about gaining experience now.
- Reza Hekmat (4th jup) on overdrive fighting and doing well against Black belts.
- Abhijay Sood doing some truley great sparring against black belts - its wonderful to have seen the growth of young Mr Sood.
- Mr Avis's truely memorable fight against the awesome Phil Whitlock (Last years gold medallist) in what was a tough and exciting battle.
- Liam Berry (3rd Kup) showing brilliant courage and determination in a tough division.. despite being ever so nervous!
- Being priviledged to witness Master Ray Gayle being promoted to 8th degree.. now that is something you dont see every day. And and a truely deserved grade.
- The Team sparring event, where Rayners Lane TKD (a single club), competed against some of the top UK Association Squads in the adrenaline charged team sparring event and doing it with pride.
Many thanks to Jyoti, Kayleigh, Vijay, Sandeep, Savinay, and David (and family) for coming down and supporting everyone. I really appreciate (as did the team) your support. And well done to all our students at the event.
Umar Marikar - Gold - Jnr Patterns (Red/Blue Belts)
Imran Zaman - Gold - Cadet Patterns (Black Belts)
Lyndsey Reynolds - Gold - Sparring (Female HW)
Lyndsey Reynolds - Gold - 1st to 4th Dan Patterns
Colin Avis - Gold - 2nd Dan Patterns
Vikram Gautam - Gold - 3rd Dan Patterns
Liam Berry - Silver - Cadet Patterns (Red/Blue Belts)
Marek Handzel- Silver- 1st Kup & 1st Dan Patterns
Dave Harris - Bronze - 1st Kup & 1st Dan Patterns
Richard Baker - Bronze - 1st Kup & 1st Dan Patterns
Abhijay Sood - Bronze - Jnr Patterns (Red/Blue Belts)
Reza Hekmat - Bronze - Cadet Patterns (Red/Blue Belts)
Abijay Sood - Bronze - Jnr Sparring (LW)
Umar Marikar - Bronze - Jnr Sparring (MW)
Suliman Majeed - Bronze - Jnr Sparring (HW)
Dave Harris - Bronze - Sparring (Adult FW)
Kate Barry - Bronze - Sparring (Female HW)
The Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy World Championship Squad
Older students with the World Championship hosts.
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