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13th Junior & 8th Veteran ITF Taekwondo World Championship - Belarus, Minsk
World ChampionshipTEAM Australia managed to exceed all expectations at the recent ITF Junior & Veteran Taekwon-Do World Championships held in Minsk, Belarus.
The international event, which ran from August 21-26, featured a total of 56 countries with just over 400 competitors ranging in age from 15 years to veterans in their 70s. The largest contingents were from Taekwon-Do powerhouses such as Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, the Czech Republic and of course, North Korea (DPRK). Australia sent a team of 14 competitors who came mostly from WA and NSW on this occasion. And what a gutsy performance the Aussies displayed to secure 12th position overall with a final medal haul of 2 Golds, 5 Silvers and 2 Bronzes - that's right, two World Champions!
The team's Jo Licastro (Geraldton, WA) won Gold in the 5th Dan silver class veteran individual patterns for women. Meanwhile, Jon Burgess (Mundaring, WA) took the Gold in the 2nd Dan gold class veteran individual patterns for men.
Other terrific results on only Day 2 of the championships were:
- Patrick Ng (Silver, 2nd Dan gold class veteran individual patterns for men)
- Pat McQueen (Silver, 5th Dan gold class veteran individual patterns for women)
- Leanne Searle (Silver, 3rd Dan gold class veteran individual patterns for women)
- Mayumi Tam (Bronze, 5th Dan gold class veteran individual patterns for women)
The team picked up more medals on Day 4:
- Jo Licastro (Silvers apiece in power breaking and free sparring)
And the final medal was a Bronze well-earned by Dimitri Stepanov in free-sparring. Dimitri fought through illness throughout his bouts and against a very tight return flight schedule on the final day. So much so that he sacrificed his medal presentation as he had to dash to the airport from the championship venue.
To top it all off, two of Team Australia's veteran women also did the country proud by earning the following trophies:
- Pat McQueen (ITF Most Honourable and Highest Technical Award Gold Class)
- Mayumi Tam (ITF Highest Technical Award Silver Class)
“I’m very proud of the fact that our team did so well at this championships by placing 12th amongst such a crowded field of teams from 56 countries,” 2nd Dan team veteran Patrick Ng said.
“Placed above us were the usual heavyweights such as North Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Japan, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. But the true scale of what Team Australia achieved in Minsk can only be understood once you notice the other countries below 12th position. These were from the larger teams such as Belarus, Tajikistan, Chile, Uzbekistan, USA and Canada. Australia has every reason to be proud of what this team achieved and its potential at future world championships. I am pleased with my performance but there’s always room for improvement obviously. Martial arts is ultimately about a journey of discovery." said Patrick Ng.
The next ITF Junior & Veteran Taekwon-Do World Championships will be held in 2020 at a venue to be decided.