ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships 2012

ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships 2012 in Ottawa, Canada, August 6 – 13.

In the wee hours of August 6th, the Singapore delegation comprising of Master Sng, Chen Weiling, Joel Mok and myself, gathered in Changi Airport’s Terminal 3, bracing ourselves for a wearisomely long flight to Ottawa, via Hong Kong and New York.

Fortunately the flights (United Airlines) were comfortable enough and, in some aspects, even exceeded my expectations! I can’t speak for the rest but I emerged from the HK-NEW YORK 14+hour leg without much ache or soreness, surprisingly. There was ample entertainment, wholesome meals and snacks, attentive staff, and, most importantly, a smooth and safe flight.

Upon arrival, Mr and Mrs. Noreiga welcomed and shuttled us to our home for the stay – Delta City Centre hotel. The double rooms we stayed in were grand! An extremely comfortable, large bed for each of us, a huge TV, and even a writing desk sat amply in the room.

It was near 7pm in the evening after settling in and we went out in search of dinner. As it was a public holiday, the roads and streets were deserted throughout the evening, and most of the stores were closed. We managed to find food at a small pizzeria after some walking and asking around. A visit to a convenience store after and the walk back to the hotel wound down our evening; the weather was just nice to spend outdoors– low 20s, breezy, and not too dry.

The next (and subsequent mornings) we had to get up early at about 6am; breakfast buffet was served up in the penthouse which held a beautiful view of the city, including the Ottawa River. Shortly after, we went to register our delegations and collect our relevant documents. The crew were friendly and efficient. We had a bit of drama when I was overweight at weigh-in.. Nothing a little skipping couldn’t resolve.

We spent the afternoon exploring Sparks Street (Ottawa’s equivalent of our Orchard Road), Wellington Street (where the majestic Parliament Building resides) and Byward Market where we had lunch and found fresh local produce, food, and trinkets. On the way back we found and signed up for a city tour at their booths. It was an interesting ride! The “amphibus” we took was akin to our Duck Tours back home – we were introduced to Ottawa’s and nearby Gatineau’s landmarks, including the many government buildings, residencies, offices, museums, the mint, and embassies, among others. Going into the Rideau River we had another perspective and a nice ride. We sighted the Rideau Falls and the scenery was spectacular – many buildings had fairy tale castle-like designs, complete with spires!

The rest of the night was occupied by the Coaches’ Meeting which reinforced rules and regulations of the tournament, as well as drew brackets for the events.

Day 3 brought the first day of events – we were shuttled across the river to Le Centre Sportif De Gatineau, a swanky new and enormous sports complex, after breakfast on very vintage-looking yellow school buses. The Opening Ceremony included several dance, Taekwon-Do skits and performances, as well as welcome speeches from President Choi, the Organizers and Mayor of Gatineau, and the Parade of Nations. The stadium was a sight to behold with many huge flags put up, more than 5 rings set up, and a roaring crowd of more than 800 from all over the world.

The tournament started with Junior Pattern and Sparring events. Master Sng kindly volunteered his services to be part of the Umpiring team, and he subsequently also worked dedicatedly over the long days of the tournament.

After some training, Weiling, Joel and I left early at 4pm on the shuttle bus back to get some groceries for our stay. We tried poutine, which is a popular Canadian dish consisting of French fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese; we all agreed it was a tasty dish and of course, had more over the course of our stay. Ate in for dinner – had a feast of salad, soup, noodles and fruits!

August 9th was the second day of the tournament and it saw Junior team events as well as Senior (above 35yrs old) events. The standard was great and the atmosphere very celebratory – opponents were very gracious and congratulating each other even after a hard fight. Also, some members from different states in the country would come together to form teams to compete. That is an inspiring spirit that Taekwon-Doists have and I wish more of our Singapore members could have taken part in this wonderful experience – it really is not about winning and losing, but of training hard and doing your best. Next time we have to send enough to take part in Team Pattern events which is such a beautiful spectacle to behold!

Other than that we were all preparing our nerves for our turn to perform the next day, all in between continuous well wishes for my birthday and fresh, huge strawberries from the nearby supermart!

Weiling’s event, Adult Female 1st Dan Individual Patterns, was called first on the next day – the big day where all our events took place. Performing her patterns with admirable strength and confidence, she won her opponent the first round. Unfortunately in the next round which was the quarter finals, her opponent was also very strong and ended up the favourite, and I am sure it was a close match giving the judges a run for their money.

Joel’s division, Adult Male 1st Dan Individual Patterns, came shortly after, to be held on the prestigious centre, raised platform! He too performed magnificently and won two rounds straight, putting him in the semi-finals, but he did not secure another win although he put in his very best. It was very heartwarming to see him perform so well at his first World Championships and was rewarded with winning a Bronze for Singapore. Congratulations, Joel!

My patterns category, Adult Male 3rd Dan Individual Patterns happened concurrently as Joel’s, so the Japanese coach kindly sat in as coach for my first round – thank you again to the Japanese delegation! I won that round and the second round as well, but failed to get past the quarter finals on the third match. Later in the afternoon, I also did not do well against my first opponent in the Adult Male Individual Sparring – Micro weight category, and was eliminated in the first round.

I’m sure, regardless of our results, we have all gained incredible firsthand experience competing in the World Championships and know what it takes to perform patterns and spar at the highest level.

The next two days of tournament consisted of team patterns, team sparring, special techniques and power breaking. It always is a pleasure to watch these other categories which we are not very experienced in, and learn and train back in the dojang, hoping that in the near future we can raise our own standards of these events, through our own local and regional tournaments as well. There are just so many aspects to this marvellous martial art (not limited to tournament events) that we can learn about, and I am glad to know that it is practiced with so much respect all around the world.

During the Closing Ceremonies on the last day, August 12, there was also several performances including Taiko Drum group performances and dances which were a treat to watch and end the tournament on a high note.

President Choi notably mentioned how the quality of Taekwon-Do has been raised to such a high level this year, and that how he hopes to have the Olympics recognize our beautiful art in the near future.

The Japanese delegation invited our team to dinner that evening, and we had a lovely meal in the hotel’s renowned restaurant. It was a great end to our short-lived trip to Canada, and it further shows how in Taekwon-Do we always have international friends and a good time wherever we go.

On behalf of the Singapore delegation I would like to thank the President of ITF, President Choi, the Co-hosts Mr. Chris Reid and Master Michel Demers of Canada, Ms. Natalie Noriega, the events planner who tirelessly clarified our queries and helped us throughout the trip. and last but definitely not least, Master Sng, whom of course without we would not be having such a fulfilling experience, without whom we would not have Taekwon-Do to not only keep fit, but also to enrich our lives, make international friends, travel and experience many other cultures.

Till the next World Championships in Italy, 2014, let’s all train hard to attend another unforgettable event!

Shaun Chua

Written by Mr. Shaun Chua, 3rd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2012

1st ITF Asia Taekwon-Do Championship

Island Taekwon-Do Centre sent a team of 5, including Master Daniel Sng, to participate in the International Taekwon-Do Federation 1st Asia Taekwon-Do Championships from the 15th to 17th of November 2011, held in Hong Kong. Singapore was one of 11 countries (producing a total of a 100-odd competitors) to partake in this landmark competition, the first of its kind for the Asian continent. The events contested were individual, as well as team, patterns and sparring, at the junior, adult and senior levels.

The tournament began on the 15th with an opening ceremony graced by ITF President Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa, with him and Master David Lau, President of the Hong Kong Original Taekwon-Do Council giving speeches. Following the opening ceremony, the individual and team patterns events took place for the rest of the 1st competition day. The welcome dinner was held later that night.

The 2nd and 3rd days featured the individual and team sparring matches, and the prize presentation and closing ceremony respectively. A farewell party was also held on the 3rd night, where we were given the opportunity to socialize with the competitors from other countries in a more relaxed setting.

In conclusion, we are proud to announce that Mr. Justin Gan (1st degree) emerged victorious in the Junior 1st Degree Patterns event, while Mr. Andrew Kung (4th degree) came in 1st runner-up in the Senior 4th Degree Patterns category. Of special mention is the fact that Justin was preparing for the GCE ‘O’ Levels examinations while training for the tournament, and in fact had arrived in Hong Kong just the night prior to his event. The commitment Justin demonstrated to perfecting the art of Taekwon-Do should certainly be lauded, as was his demonstration of the Taekwon-Do tenets – Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit – in balancing both his academic and Taekwon-Do commitments. Much credit also goes to Mr. Jonathan Sun (4th degree), our Team Coach, for his invaluable guidance and training.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to our hosts, the Hong Kong Original Taekwon-Do Council, and in particular Master David Lau and Mr. Windy Yu (5th degree, Shing Wu Taekwon-Do Association) for their impeccable hospitality from the time we landed in Hong Kong till the moment we departed. They made our experience in Hong Kong an unforgettable one, and it certainly leaves me hankering for a subsequent visit in the near future!

On a personal note, I would like to thank Master Daniel Sng for giving me the opportunity to participate in this competition, despite being overseas for almost the entire year, as well as Mr. Jeremy Tan (2nd Degree), for the outstanding administration of the trip. I look forward to many future experiences!

Shanan Woo

Written by Mr. Shanan Woo, 1st Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2011

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ITF World Championships 10th Junior, 15th Adult and 1st Senior

A team of 10 of us, including Master Daniel Sng, participated at the ITF World Championships 10th Junior, 15th Adult and 1st Senior from 4th of July to the 8th of July 2010 in South Korea at Cheongju.

There were a total of more than 30 countries who took part in this major event. It is the second time ITF held the World Championships in South Korea, the birthplace of Taekwon-Do. The first was in 2004, at Daejeon.

The ITF Championships consisted of Individual Patterns, Team Patterns, Individual Sparring, Team Sparring, Power Breaking and Special Techniques. It was very interesting to see the Seniors compete as it is the first time ITF has organized a Senior Championships for them. I hope that more Seniors would come forward to continue to compete and never give up. Taekwon-Do is not only for the young, but it is for life.

Our Singapore team competed in the Individual Patterns and we would like to congratulate Ms Tang Poh Looi, who won the bronze medal for the Adult Female 2nd Degree patterns and we are all proud of her achievement! The rest of us got through to quarter finals and we will strive to work harder and compete in the next ITF World Championships in 2012.

It was heartwarming for me as it is the first time I have been to the World Championships. This event allowed me to learn more about the culture of the different countries and make new friends. The experience is hard for me to put it in words. As Taekwon-Do practitioners, we are given this opportunity to meet others from all around the world through this World Championships held once every two years. Watching the competitors compete showed me how much time and effort they have put in to attain what they have.

Some of us exchanged numbers, email addresses, our jackets and doboks with other countries for remembrance and a token of appreciation.

During the sparring matches, I saw many competitors who never gave up though they had fallen and continued to spar with their indomitable spirit. We should all have this indomitable spirit in us as well as sportsmanship and strive to do our best.

The event ended with Cheongwan Governor’s reception and a farewell disco party.

I would like to thank ITF for organizing this World Championships 2010, congratulate all medal winners across the world, thank Master Daniel Sng and the entire Singapore team who went to the World Championships 2010, thank our wonderful guide Miss Kong Jae Hee who helped us a lot throughout the trip and everyone who made this event possible.


Written by Ms. Justina Maria Sng, 2nd Degree Black Belt, ITF Singapore.
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2010

Republic of Korea

Chungcheongbuk-Do (Cheongju)

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