It was a bitter morning for Danny Welland, Pherrel Chang, Gerry Beznoska, Umbreen Khan, Jamie McCarthy, Dale Stiles and James Adetutu of Brentford TKD on Saturday 23rd March. Snow was fiercely blowing against the car windows all the way down the A3 but luckily Guildford was less than an hour away for both cars carrying all 7 passengers. It was not long before the members of Brentford TKD were joining the athletes from other clubs in trudging across the slush filled car park to the Guildford Spectrum for the UKTA English Open.
The start of proceedings was delayed by 45mins to allow those caught up in the unseasonal weather conditions to arrive and warm up. There was a relaxed atmosphere as competitors of all grades and ages used the available mats to practice patterns and stretch before the competition began. The first contest of the day was Pherrel amongst 9 other competitors in veteran male degree patterns. Pherrel demonstrated good execution and power as he completed the choice and designated degree patterns through the rounds with ease. The performances earnt him a place in the final, in which he came away with a silver medal; the first medal of the day. Pherrel didn’t get much of a rest as heavyweight male degree sparring was due to start fairly soon after. The 6 mats meant the contests would run fairly swiftly and Pherrel put on a good performance after a long time out of competition. The decision went in favour of the quick moving opposition and Pherrel had to wait for the power session to see if he could add to the silver from patterns.
Jamie and Dale were next to perform in a highly represented category for kup patterns. Nerves got the better of them during Dan Gun and they no doubt learnt that in competition, there is no room for mistakes. In his first tournament for Brentford TKD, Gerry stepped up to the mark to perform Joong Gun. Gerry demonstrated a powerful set of moves and easily won his first two rounds to make it through to the finals and earnt a silver medal. Umbreen was the last to compete in kup patterns but after a close contest of Hwa Rang did not get the chance to compete in the next round.
It was a wait of at least 3 hours that went by with lots of high energy snacks, coffee and catching up with old taekwondo friends before the sparring session started. James was the first of Brentford to get his gear on for sparring. As per UKTA rules, colour belt competitors are required to wear headguards. This kept coach and instructor Danny busy throughout the session trying to find appropriately coloured headguards for the colour belts (and wiping them down before returning them!).
James’ accurate kicking stunned the opponent and allowed him to progress to the next round. The second opponent James faced came out with a more aggressive style leaving the bout to a tie. Another round was added in which James successfully won allowing him the chance to fight for gold in the final. With all members of Brentford watching closely, James stepped onto the mat in what would be a tense few rounds of sparring. The clock started and the leggy opponent forced James to pick his shots carefully. With both coaches shouting instructions to their fighters, the opponent did enough to bring the bout to a tie meaning they would spar again in another 90 second round. Both fighters came out more aggressively attacking with flying kicks and although the opponent held the middle of the ring, James managed to lure him in and land scoring shots leaving the round ending in another tie. The next point would win the fight and as the opponent went in to throw a punch, James landed a kick earning him the point and much deserved gold medal.
After James’ performance, everyone was well and truly motivated for their fights. Next up was Dale Stiles, who in his second tournament was looking forward to sparring again. Dale came up against a tough experienced opponent in the lightweight division and the opposition’s experience proved much too valuable leaving Dale to come away with a bloody nose a bronze medal, the first sparring medal of the day for Brentford.
Next up for 90 seconds of sparring was Jamie in the adult hyperweight division. Jamie didn’t get a chance to get going against his opponent but gained valuable experience for his next tournament. Umbreen was competing on another mat at the same time after being moved up a weight category due to lack of numbers at microweight. She successfully won her bout of 90 seconds and won a gold for Brentford at lightweight. Gerry was called up next in his long overdue first bout for Brentford. He displayed good technique but did not land the same percentage of attacks as the opponent, no doubt once Gerry finds his rhythm he will be a force in future tournaments.
After coaching the colour belts, it was time for Danny to step up to the mark for degree sparring. After a cautious start Danny found his rhythm and landed some powerful turning kick – jump punch combinations that won him the bout and progression to the next round. The second bout of 90 seconds came and went with a demonstration of good ring movement as Danny progressed to the final. The final opponent for Danny came in strong and a blow to the leg almost ended the bout there and then. Injury time and the break in between rounds allowed Danny to refocus and finish the bout with a silver medal. This bout brought the day to a close as officials started to clear the hall leaving Brentford with a tally of 6 medals in what was another successful tournament for Brentford TKD.