Bronze (Sparring) for Brentford at the World Championships, Rome 2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Umbreen traveled from London Heathrow to Fiumicino airport in Rome with the rest of Team UK from Region 1 on Monday 21st July 2014 for the UKITF World Championships following qualification at the British Championships in October 2013, English Championships in February 2014 and Fight Night in May 2014. After checking in at the NH Jolly Midas Hotel and meeting up with fellow Team UK members Andrew Lawrence and Hayley Smyth, they headed to the supermarket located next door to the hotel to pick up water and bananas for the next few days and sushi for dinner! Other teams staying at the NH Midas were USA, Canada, Holland (until they got moved to the Holiday Inn next door after 2 days), Argentina, Australia, Uzbekistan and possibly a few more. The rest of the teams stayed at other nearby hotels or hotels closer to the venue which was a 30minute coach ride from the NH Midas. The original weigh-in day for USA and UK got moved a day early from Wednesday to Tuesday and Umbreen finding out after a big breakfast, weighed in 0.25g over the -50kg limit. This was not a problem as she weighed in the next day along with the majority of teams and was comfortably under. Following the weigh-in, the draws were made and the draw sheets were stuck on the walls leading to the breakfast hall so everyone could see who their opponents would be. The tournament days were Thursday-Sunday which gave the athletes and coaches a few days early in the week to go sightseeing.

On Tuesday, Umbreen went with Andrew and Hayley to Vatican City by taxi. It poured down the whole time (although 30c) and the queue was huge so they decided to walk around the city rather than wait in the queue. They travelled around the whole area and saw some amazing buildings. There was an ice cream shop selling so many flavours of ice cream it was difficult to make a decision! They walked for a good few hours and went to many shops on the high street. Before getting a taxi back, they found a place to eat and sat on a table outside and had lunch. The main choices of food everywhere seemed to be pizza, pasta, paninis and ice cream. Umbreen opted for an omelette as she had to weigh in the next morning.

The next day Umbreen weighed in and decided to visit the Colosseum on public transport. The bus stop outside the hotel was blocked off so Umbreen walked to the next one which was a good 20 min walk uphill. There was no pavements so it was the equivalent of walking along the side of the dual carriageway in England. (they also drive on the right hand side of the road in Italy). After finding the bus stop and buying a ticket (1.50eu) from another passenger, she reached the metro station and got the underground to the Colosseum. As soon as you leave the station Colosseo, the huge ruins meet you literally across the road. The Japanese team were also visiting that day. After an hour and half wait in the queue, Umbreen finally reached the front of the queue and paid the 12 euros for entry and being inside was well worth the wait. The ticket was also valid for entry to the Roman Forum next to the Colosseum. Instead of getting the train back, Umbreen walked for another few hours exploring more of the city and it’s ice cream, found a decent pizza place and eventually got the train back from Repubblica. After a short rest, Umbreen decided to practise patterns in the car park of the hotel at around 9pm and as she was practising, Master Choi Jung Hwa (President of ITF) walked by with his delegation and was surprised to see someone practising so late at night. After a short conversation with Umbreen about which club she trained at and some encouraging words, Umbreen finished her patterns and went to bed ready for the early start of the first tournament day.

Breakfast was at 6.30am-7.3oam and the coach left at 7.45am to the venue. This was one of the shifts and there was  another shift that was a bit later. Half the teams did one shift whilst half did the other and each day, the teams swapped. As soon as the teams all arrived at the Fijlkam arena which was located down the road from the beach, they started hanging up their country’s flags. the first day saw the Junior, Senior categories begin and the opening ceremony at the end of the day. The coach left to go back to the hotel that evening around 7pm. McDonalds was Thursday’s dinner as it was the closest place to the hotel.

Friday was the day the adult categories began and the junior and senior categories finished off. Umbreen was called up for patterns in the centre ring against Italy. After a very close performance of designated pattern Toi Gye and choice pattern Gae Baek, Umbreen narrowly missed out on the decision. She then had a few hours to prepare for sparring later on in the day. The announcer calls the category and names of athletes that are to be competing in that category. The athletes then make their way to one side of the arena (green seating) where they wait and the countries coaches are waiting to take them to the ring when their turn comes. There was also a warm up area under the arena which athletes could use to warm up before their competition. Most people, however, chose to warm up outside. The arena didn’t have air conditioning so it was very easy to dehydrate and downing 3litres of water in a few hours was quite common on competition days. Umbreen’s category was the first adult sparring category to be called up and as it was near the end of the day it was uncertain whether she would be able to compete before the days end of play. The adult female -50kg category began on the side ring C. As Umbreen waited at the side of the ring getting final instructions from her coach, it was announced the opponent from Uzbekistan had not turned up. This meant Umbreen got a bye to the next round which was the semi-final. the ring was then cleared to make way for the medal ceremony for junior and seniors and there was a short moment of confusion as Umbreen was unsure of whether she would fight that day or the beginning of the next day. It was then made clear she would fight next but on the centre ring! Umbreen was ready to go and fought an Argentinian girl. Umbreen lost ground on points in the first round and after a better second round landing far more shots, she settled for a bronze. Following this was a few more bouts and the coach got the last of the competitors back to the hotel quite late; just in time to head to the supermarket to pick up ingredients for dinner – tuna mayo wraps.

As Team UK had the early shift to the venue the next morning, it meant a short few hours sleep after dinner before waking up the next morning and getting ready to head back to the venue. Saturday saw the adult male competitions and was a busy day as Team UK had competitors on every ring at some points of the day. The special technique and power competitions took place in the warm up room. The team events began and continued on Sunday along with the World Cup where colour belts and black belts competed. As the day began to wind down on Sunday, Umbreen visited the beach and as the food had pretty much run out at the venue, the majority of a hungry Team UK headed to the restaurant recommended by the hotel. It poured down on the way to the restaurant but it was a nice finish to the tournament and the team then packed ready for the journey back to London the following day. Due to storms in the UK and Europe, the plane was delayed by about 3 hours but eventually everyone made it back to London (and Luton for other Team UK competitors) in one piece. The next World Championships will be held in the UK in 2015.