Manx Tigers Taekwondo sent six fighters to the Scorpion Taekwondo One-to-One Kyorugi (Olympic sparring) event at the Barnsley Metrodome, South Yorkshire recently.
With more than 320 competitors from some of the biggest taekwondo clubs in the UK, the event was primarily aimed at those with less experience.
It was the first competitive sparring match for many including five of the Manx fighters and it was great to see two Isle of Man clubs competing in the UK.
The development weekend started with a fantastic training session at Quest TKD led by top coach Mike McKenzie on the Saturday morning.
He has a wealth of experience, being the London 2012 Olympic taekwondo sports manager and having worked with top-flight taekwondo athletes over many years.
The team very much appreciated his advice and insight.
Sunday was competition day, starting with eight-year-old Graihagh Halsall taking part in the first fight of the day. She put in a great performance, dominating her opponent with multiple head shots to win her match.
Next up was Kassie, aged 12, who fought well to win the first round but was beaten on points in the second and third rounds by her taller opponent. Juan, 11, also lost on points following a spirited performance against a dynamic and aggressive opponent.
The next two matches saw the Tigers’ older black belt members compete. First was 15-year-old Isla who took an early lead in her black-belt match, showing great skill in scoring repeated head and body shots to take a decisive win point gapping her Scorpion TKD opponent in the second round.
Next was 18-year-old Era – who normally competes for Southern Tigers martial arts school – who had a thrilling seniors match, winning the first round but was narrowly beaten on points despite fighting hard throughout.
The final match of the day for the Tigers team was 11-year-old Harrison whose fight was incredibly close, both fighters battling to the last seconds of the final round which unfortunately Harrison lost following a late headshot by his opponent.
Given that most of the team were first-time competitors, this was a really strong performance for the Manx Tigers.
Team coach Richard Halsall, commented: ‘Coaches David, Sarah and myself were proud to see this small team develop as fighters in the last couple of months. It takes real bravery to fight in a competitive match particularly in a first competition.
‘This was our first off-island competition since the pandemic and it was great to be at such a large event. We are gearing up to compete again in the UK and abroad.’
Manx Tigers is part of World Taekwondo member Isle of Man Taekwondo Association and is now accepting new members.
l For more information or to contact the club, visit Manx Tigers Taekwondo on Facebook or follow @iomtkd on Twitter.