Six GTI squad members have just been crowned World Champions after taking part in the Open World Taekwondo Championships in June 2015.
The 19-strong GTI squad travelled to the tournament in Rimini, Italy, to represent England. Many other teams from around the globe were in attendance, with top fighters from countries such as Japan, Australia, USA, Poland, Argentina and the Netherlands.
It was a tough tournament, with a very high standard of competition; but our squad rose to the challenge and achieved 27 medals – 6 gold, 5 silver & 16 bronze.
10-year-old Callum Edwards from Liverpool won the squad’s first medal, taking gold in sparring after beating a Canadian in the final of the young junior male black belt division. This was a fantastic achievement for Callum, who only attained his black belt in April 2015.
In the junior male black belt division, 15-year-old Jordan Ordidge from Crewe picked up the squad’s second World title after a final round battle with his 13-year-old GTI teammate, Nicholas Henryanto from North London, who took silver.
16-year-old Michael McCaw from Liverpool scored another gold medal for Team GTI after beating a Belgian opponent in the final of the junior male blue/red belt sparring division. Michael gained his blue belt only two weeks prior to the tournament, but he dominated the bout to secure his place at the top of the podium.
10-year-old Malachi Stavely made an impact in the young junior male blue/red belt sparring event. The Manor Park student was unfazed by the taller boys in his category, performing confidently against Scotland in the final round to take the gold medal.
In the junior female blue/red belt division, 16-year-old Lois Jennings earned her own World title after winning tough sparring matches against Italian and Scottish opponents. The Liverpool fighter put her flexibility and fast kicks to good use, scoring multiple head shots to ensure a convincing victory.
Thomas Hickey from Manor Park took on several Italian fighters in the senior male colour belt division. He dominated his sparring matches with focus and determination, and was deservedly crowned World Champion.
There was further success in the senior female black belt division, with both Stef Davies (Liverpool) and Mikeala Houlihan (Manor Park) claiming silver in their respective sparring categories. Squad Coach Jasper Chow (Cheltenham) faced some tough opposition in the senior male black belt sparring division, but won several rounds to claim a bronze medal
Despite the unfamiliar “sinewave” style, squad members also found success in their patterns events, with Joseph Cockburn (Hinckley), Thomas Hickey and Lois Jennings all winning bronze medals. Bridgnorth’s Dean Lewis achieved double success in the veteran male black belt division, earning bronze medals in both patterns and sparring events. This was particularly impressive considering he only recently attained his black belt in April 2015. 10-year-old Olivia Connolly (Liverpool) also earned two bronze medals in patterns and sparring in the young junior female blue/red belt division.
In the black belt team events, our squad secured multiple medals. The GTI boys’ team earned podium places in all four events, taking silver medals in patterns and special technique (jumping kicks); and bronze medals in sparring and destruction (board-breaking). The ladies team also collected four medals, winning bronze in each of the team events. The men’s team added another two medals to the squad’s haul, taking bronze in both patterns and destruction.
Onwards and Upwards
The squad’s excellent results are the outcome of their considerable hard work and dedication to training during the months prior to the tournament. The provision of funding by the GTI allowed the strongest possible team to be given the opportunity to participate, and their success reflects the commitment and expertise of coaching staff: Jasper Chow (GTI Squad Coach); Pat Houlihan and Eddie Calland (regional squad coaches); Ben Amigoni (fitness coach); and Stuart King (patterns coach). The families, friends and clubs of all involved have also provided invaluable support.
For the GTI squad, the experience of competing at the Open World Championships has been both enjoyable and educational. After training together, travelling together and supporting each other through four days of intense competition, the trip has certainly brought squad members closer together and created some lasting friendships. They have also gained plenty of new friends in the international taekwondo community. Although the competition was fierce, the atmosphere was open and friendly – as the after-party later proved! In addition, the squad has benefited from competing at such a high level and from watching some of the top taekwondo practitioners from around the world.
Squad members will now use this experience to help identify areas for improvement and to develop their competitive skills. Coaches will be working closely with the squad to make the team even stronger for future tournaments. The GTI hopes to continue to provide funding to support its squad and to give GTI members the opportunity to excel on the international stage.
If you are interested in competing at the top level, or just improving your fitness and competitive edge, why not join one of our squad training sessions? All GTI members are welcome. Please find more information on our GTI Squad page.
Junior colour belts:
- Olivia Connolly, age 10 (Liverpool) – 2 x bronze in sparring & patterns
- Lois Jennings, age 16 (Liverpool) – gold in sparring & bronze in patterns
- Michael McCaw, age 16 (Liverpool) – gold in sparring
- Malachi Stavely, age 10 (Manor Park) – gold in sparring.
Senior colour belts:
- Thomas Hickey (Manor Park) – gold in sparring & bronze in patterns.
Junior black belts:
- Callum Edwards, age 10 (Liverpool) – gold in sparring
- Nicholas Henryanto, age 13 (North London) – silver in sparring
- Jordan Ordidge, age 15 (Crewe) – gold in sparring
- Boys’ black belt team: Callum Edwards, age 10 (Liverpool) Nicholas Henryanto, age 13 (North London) Lachlan Houlihan, age 14 (Manor Park) Jordan Ordidge, age 15 (Crewe) Luke Richardson, age 14 (Bridgnorth) – 2 x silver in patterns & special technique; 2 x bronze in sparring & destruction.
Senior black belts:
- Jasper Chow – bronze in sparring
- Joe Cockburn – bronze in patterns
- Stef Davies – silver in sparring
- Mikeala Houlihan – silver in sparring
- Dean Lewis – 2 x bronze in sparring & patterns
- Ladies black belt team: Stef Davies (Liverpool) Mikeala Houlihan (Manor Park) Lucy Sanders (Liverpool) – 4 x bronze in patterns, sparring, destruction & special technique
- Men’s black belt team: Ben Amigoni (Cheltenham) Jasper Chow (Cheltenham) Joseph Cockburn (Hinckley) Aaron Houlihan (Manor Park) Dean Lewis (Bridgnorth) – 2 x bronze in patterns & destruction.
by Stef Davis