On Sunday 29th January, Bluewave in Basingstoke hosted the first major Poomsae Tournament in the UK in 2017. This was our first ‘home’ tournament for very many years and had been many months in the planning. We had made the decision to run a Poomsae Championships nearly a year earlier having finally managed to identify an appropriate venue.
Planning was complex but we had great support from many people but especially from Mark Moores (NTC), Thomas McGuiness and Master Glen Culbert (UTA NI) and Grandmaster Tong Wan Shin (UTA and British Taekwondo Poomsae Referees Committee). Originally, we had decided on a modest event with three courts and 250 competitors but as soon as we opened registrations it was obvious that there would be much more interest, so quickly this became 300 and 4 courts. Most arrangements went well so we headed into competition weekend with a great entry, the technical team ready, lots of club volunteers and an extensive team of judges.
The competition weekend finally arrived. Setup started with the Bluewave volunteers working with the technical team from NTC to get everything prepared. Sunday morning arrived – final preparations, judge’s meetings, coaches’ meetings and a few hitches! The heating failed and despite a lot of effort we were not able to restore it to working order – so thank you to everyone for your tolerance of a slightly less than ideal temperature!
With final team registration finished we had 307 individual competitors and 98 pairs/teams from 41 different clubs. The competitors ranged from many complete novices through to those with years of international experience. The standard of competition was very good, with many outstanding performances, showing off not only the talent of today but that there is a real depth for the future of Poomsae in Great Britain. The support from coaches and spectators was positive and encouraging; not just to their own but to everyone. Divisions ran smoothly and the day finished on time with all courts running their final divisions at around 6pm. Finally, the team results were 1st Nomad, 2nd Livingwell, 3rd UTA Streetwise.
It was an exhausting experience for all those involved in planning and running the event, but well worth it. Thank you to all the clubs who supported us, to GM Shin and his team of judges, to Mark Moores and Bradley Sinden for the technical management of the systems, to Thomas McGuiness for the registration system and to the fabulous set of volunteers from not just Bluewave but also several other local clubs and Taekwondo Chungdokwan GB. Each of you helped to make the day successful.
The feedback from those attended has been overwhelmingly positive. We are now starting to plan for 2018, looking at dates in April so that we won’t be reliant on the heating!