Friday10th October had LEARN TKD members travelling to Budapest for the ITF European Cup. It was to be a long tiring weekend which would see some 607 competitors competing from 29 countries.
Their team of 3 competitors, 1 coach and 1 supporter arrived just after midday to a very pleasant 72 degrees sunny day which stayed with them for the duration of the weekend. Isn’t it always the way, when you’re stuck in a sports centre?
Registration went very smoothly, everyone made their weights, and with a collective sigh of relief, they went off to eat! Then it was time to meet up with other VISION members as well as others from ITF England and make plans for the following days events. Disappointingly 3 of their 4 events got rescheduled for the Sunday which threw their site seeing plans up in the air a bit.
Brad Cossall was to compete on the Saturday afternoon, he had a really tough draw and although giving a good account of himself, his Instructor pulled him out before the bout concluded as he was suffering concussion.
An early night for Laura Fox Longdon, she was due on centre ring first fight of the day on the Sunday morning. She fought Norway in the first round and achieved a very convincing win. Lots of people back home got to watch, as the action on centre ring was streamed live on the internet.
Round 2 was to be against Hungary but for some reason they didn’t show and Laura won by default. Round 3 was a different story. The mighty Poland, and the current world champion! Laura had faced and been beaten by this opponent before, so not a good place to be psychologically. A spirited performance by Laura, but her Competition ended here.
Whilst the action was underway for Laura, Eoin Hosking’s pattern event was starting, so Brad Cosshall donned tracksuit and stepped in as second coach. It was Eoin’s first ever International competition, the pressure was on, and the nerves kicked in! Great performance. He went through several rounds and beat some good opposition, until a “mental block” eventually cost him the decision. But a great performance, only one round short of the medals, and proof he has the ability, once he has the experience. So, only one event left, and no medals as yet.
Eoin stepped onto the mat for his first ever international sparring bout to face Latvia. Two rounds of nerve racking action, with the score board showing Latvia just in front at the end of round 1 and all the way through round 2. Ten seconds left on the clock and with his coach Paul Adams screaming instructions at him, the score swung in Eoin’s favour and he was through to round two, Poland!
The Poles have always been very strong fighters, and his opponent was happy to live up to the reputation! The score board swung back and forth for the duration of the two round fight and once again, ten seconds before time and it looked like Eoin was going home. But it isn’t over until it’s over, and just in the nick of time Eoin pulled something out of the bag and clinched the win.
Round 3, Wales, coached by the legend, and very good friend of ITF England, Mr Neil Ernest. Paul Adams thought Eoin had a good chance here, because knowing Mr Ernest and knowing the way he spars, he figured he would know his students style. But it didnt help. He was very strong, but after another “nail biter” Eoin won. Literally in the last five seconds!
Into the semi-finals against Hungary. A much taller opponent to the previous ones, with a lot more reach. This one was very hard and midway through round 2 Eoin took a thundering side kick square in the chest, he was down, and the medics were on the mat. A brief check up from the medics and Eoin announces he’s good to go. Fought like a demon, but couldn’t beat the Hungarian. Bronze medal, and a great first International.