Euros 2011 Report
The Irish Taekwon-Do Team returned from the European Championships in Slovakia on Monday with a record haul of 8 gold, 5 silver and 8 bronze medals. This was the best performance ever by an Irish Taekwon-Do team and led to the team being placed in second place overall at the championships losing out to Poland. 30 countries competed at the Championships with 485 competitors participating.
The 38 strong team departed Dublinon Wednesday 19thOctober accompanied by the coaching team of Mr. Stephen Cooley, Mr. Alan Troy, Mr. Niall Jones & Mr. Adrian Byrne, manager at the event, Mr. Jack Sheehan, and Irish Umpires, Mr. Pat Barry and Mr. Dave Elson, & some parents accompanying the squad as supporters.
After a short rest on arrival, the team trained in a local sports hall, before returning to their hotel as competitors participating in individual sparring could rest and prepare for the weight check early on Thursday morning. Thursday began with the weight checks, then onto 2 training sessions before the coaches, umpires & manager left for the coaches & umpire meetings at which the draws would be done.
Friday was day 1 of the championships and began with Junior individual & team patterns & it wasn’t long before Ireland were on the medal table with Katy Laffan taking gold in the Junior female 1stDan patterns & Naomi Coonghe taking Irelands 2ndGold in the Junior female 2ndDan patterns. The junior female team continued their winning streak by the taking gold in the junior female team pattern event. It was then the turn of the junior male and Dylan Fitzgibbon continued the winning form taking a bronze in Junior male 3rddan patterns, while the junior male team pattern went on to take silver.
On Friday afternoon its was the turn of the senior competitors to try continue the winning form of the juniors from the morning. First up was Emma Justice from Corkwho took bronze in 1stDan Patterns, followed by Laura Cullen taking a bronze in 3rdDan Patterns. Next up was Stephen Smullen from Newlands TKD, in the male 3rdDan patterns. First up for Stephen was Netherlandswhich after performances of Optional Choi-Yong and designated Toi-Gye, Stephen progressed through to the 2ndround where he faced Belgium. After another strong performance of Choi-Yong and Toi-Gye as the designated once again, it wasn’t to be and the Belgian competitor progressed to the next round. Philip McAuliffe was next up taking a bronze in 2ndDan patterns. Next was the turn of Stephen Ryan, current world silver medallist in 4th– 6thDan patterns, and in a repeat of the world championship final faced off against Jarek Suska of Poland, with Suska claiming victory on this occasion on his way to winning the division. The senior male team pattern the faced Poland, the team of Stephen Ryan, Jamie Rigney, Donal O’Donoghue, Hong Looi & Stephen Smullen performed Gae-Baek and then Dan-Gun with Polandwinning. Last on Friday was junior female sparring with an all Irish final between Chloe Aboud & Nicole Butler in -50kg division, with Chloe taking the gold, Sarah Lehane the took gold in the -60kg section.
Saturday was mainly Senior & Junior individual sparring & Naomi Coonghe started the day off taking gold in the -45kg junior sparring. Next Up for the juniors was Adam Shelley & Dylan Fitzgibbon in the Junior -63kg division, starting at opposite ends of the draw the pair progressed through the rounds to meet in an all Irish final with Adam taking the gold. Also in the Junior -52kg section, Adamsbrother ,Ryan Shelley took another Gold medal for Ireland, while Eddie Dillon took a bronze in the same section.
Senior medallists from day 2 included Ross Smith taking gold in +80kg competition from Russia& Finland. Sabina Mason took bronze in female -58kg while Darren Doherty progressed through the rounds in the -54kg division in the morning before facing Alexander Leonov of Russiaduring the finals gala that night & took silver.
Sunday was the final day of the championships. Irelandssparring & power teams had the last chance to pick up some medals. First up was the junior teams with the junior female team taking bronze in team sparring. While the junior male team fought through a tough draw before an exciting quarter final vs Slovenia. After the 5 fights the teams were level, and another fight was required to separate the teams, but Sloveniaprogressed to the semi going on to win the section. Next was the senior teams turn, with the senior female team repeating the success of the junior female team taking a bronze. Last of the sparring teams to go was the senior male team who were drawn against Scotlandin the first round & after victories from Stephen Smullen, Stephen Ryan & Alan MacDonagh progressed to the next round to face the Netherlands. Up next for the team was the Netherlands, who after four fights progressed to the next round.
The campaign was a massive success overall, with strong performances from the entire squad. This is summed up by the number of medals, especially the number of Golds, with 7 individual European Champions returning to Ireland.
Congratulations to the entire squad, the coaches (Mr. Stephen Cooley, Mr. Alan Troy, Mr. Niall Jones, Mr. Adrian Byrne) manager at the event (Mr. Jack Sheehan) and Irish Umpires (Mr. Pat Barry and Mr. Dave Elson).
The full results are listed below
Naomi Coonghe - Gold 2nd DegreeJunior Patterns
Katie Laffan - Gold 1st Degree Junior Patterms
Emma Justice - Bronze 2nd Degree Senior Patterns
Laura Cullen - Bronze 3rd Degree Senior Patterns
Dylan Fitzgibbon - Bronze 3rd Degree Junior Patterns
Junior Female Team Pattern - Gold
Chloe Aboud - Gold -50kg Junior Sparring
Nicole Butler - Silver -50kg Junior Sparring
Junior Male Team Pattern - Silver
Sarah Lehane - Gold -60kg Junior Sparring
Philip McAuliffe - Bronze - 2nd Degree Senior Patterns
Naomi Coonghe - Gold -45kg Junior sparring
Ross Smith - Silver +80kg Senior Sparring
Adam Shelley - Gold -63kg Junior Sparring
Dylan Fitzgibbon - Silver -63kg Junior Sparring
Eddie Dillon - Bronze -52kg Junior Sparring
Ryan Shelly - Gold -52kg Junior Sparring
Darren Doherty - Silver -54kg Sparring
Sabina Mason - Bronze -58kg Sparring
Junior Female Team Sparring -Bronze
Senior Female Team Sparring - Bronze
Naomi Coonghe - Best overall junior female