In April 2019 the 14th European Poomsae Championships took place in Antalya, Turkey.
With additionally athletes qualifying via the Presidents Cup, the 3-day event was one of the biggest and most competitive Europeans ever held with 541 athletes from 26 countries.
With a very short notice for the event, the team of 39 athletes was selected following a final play-off event in Manchester coached at the Championships by 3 of the GB High Performance Poomsae Coaches Gemma Biescas, Chan Sau and Chi Lai.
Despite some unlucky draws this was the most successful European Championships ever for Great Britain with 10 medals secured – 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze. The country also secured the overall 2nd place Male Team trophy, with Great Britain finishing 4th place country.
Day one was a big day and set off to a great start with Ali Pourtaheri winning Gold and becoming the European Champion in the U65 Individual Male category with Peter Johnson winning a Bronze in the same category.
The U30 Individual categories were held in a single elimination format. Henry Chiu was unlucky to just miss out to Portugal whilst Sydney Craven, who was drawn against the former World Champion from Turkey narrowly missed out on progressing through the round of 32.
Claire Howard and Simon Negus both unfortunately didn’t make it to the final in the U50 individual categories.
The U17 teams both competed well and beat some strong teams: male team of Aditya Odhavji, Jack Britton and Thomas Carney and female team: Caitlin Moir, Tahya Fells and Natasha Wilson.
The U14 Pair cadet category proved to be an exciting event for Great Britain with a very close semi-final including the two GB Pairs (Renee Marshall & Oluwatimilehin Akinrele and Nino Ontoy & Shayma Mir) in medal potential positions. In a tough final however, performing Taegeuk 6 & Koryo, the results were bittersweet with Great Britain successfully winning their 4th medal of the day with Nino Ontoy & Shayma Mir winning Silver but Renee Marshall & Oluwatimilehin Akinrele were unlucky to be pipped by Spain for the Bronze.
The finale of day one was the freestyle and the GB U17 pair of Amy Stewart & Zaw Torley, although the youngest competitors in the category, showed maturity and confidence in their routine and a great pair to watch for the future.
It was a long busy day for team GB but hearing the National Anthem at the medal ceremony was a great morale boost for day 2.
Day two was a mixed day with the U40 Individuals performing in tough matches again in the single elimination format, Ajay Singh Rawat despite his best performance ever lost to Spain, and Wenqi Li competed first match against the eventual Gold Medallist from Norway.
U60 Male Raymond Michael performed well in his first poomsae but a split-second lapse in concentration on his second poomsae cost him dearly and he was unable to progress to the final.
Both the U30 Teams were also in action with the male team comprising Henry Chiu, Cameron Park, Thomas Leatherland and the female trio of Sydney Craven, Francesca Biescas and Chloe McIntosh. Despite good performances from both teams unfortunately they were unable to progress to the finals. The same also true for the U14 female team Kara Mclaren, Olivia Shaw-Wilkinson & Shayma Mir, though will no doubt provide them with a good experience and platform to build on for future championships.
The +31 Pair of Wenqi Li & Simon Negus just missed out on a final place after a wobble in Keumgang. The U17 pair of Emily Hoang & Maximo Libid progressed easily to the Semi-final and finals to finish in a well deserved 3rd place out of 24 strong competitors.
The U14 Team Male category saw two GB entries. The younger development trio of Noah Adams, Zaw Torley and Kelvin Hoang just missed out on a medal whilst the older more experienced team of Oluwatimilehin Akrinrele, Joshua Tobin & Alfie Harper improved on their bronze medal performance at the Presidents Cup to win the 2nd Gold medal for Great Britain and take their place as European Champions.
The freestyle individual categories saw GB competitors Aidan Palmer, Zaw Torley & Katie Vaughan performing in the U17 categories at their first Europeans and setting a good standard. As they were amongst the youngest athletes at the event this will no doubt give them good experience for the future.
Another highlight of the day was another Gold Medal from +66 Male Mike Pejic, who after a disappointing World Championships due to injury, came back to win the category with ease and it was an emotional moment for the 69-year-old as he took his place on the podium.
For Day Three the team spirits were high and looking forward to the final day of competition. Renee Marshall competing in the U14 individual category against 22 players, exceeded expectations to reach the finals and only just miss out on a medal. The same was true for Natasha Wilson competing in her first year in the U17 category against 24 competitors and showing excellent promise for the future for Great Britain in these categories.
U30 Pair Thomas Leatherland & Chloe McIntosh just missed out on the finals whilst the +31 Team female of Kimberley Stancer, Ling Tze Tan & Claire Howard reached the finals and only narrowly missed securing another medal for GB.
In the U17 Male Category Maximo Libid smashed the preliminary round against 24 players leading in 1st place, the same again in the Semi-finals to be the leader into the finals. Unfortunately, it was a tied final score for first place and a tied presentation score. As such unfortunately on count back, where the rules dictate that eliminated scores are factored back in, the first place went to Denmark. Despite deep disappointment Maximo showed true sportsmanship on receiving his well earnt Silver.
The highlight of Day Three was the U14 Male category where GB had 3 competitors in Nino Ontoy, Alfie Harper & Joshua Tobin. Alfie, despite a good performance on his first call up for Great Britain, failed to make it to the final, leaving Nino and Alfie to fight for medals in the finals.
It was a tense moment for GB watching as they performed Taegeuk 4 and Koryo and ended in a Silver for Nino Ontoy and another European Champion for Great Britain with Joshua Tobin winning his 2nd Gold of the competition.
After each major Championships the GB Poomsae Team mascot Churchill gets given to a different player to look after and this time the coaches decided that Mike Pejic had deserved to be the recipient of this honour 😊
Unprecedented results for British Taekwondo as Great Britain won the 2nd place Male Overall trophy and 4th place Country. The team and coaches are motivated and excited to begin their preparations and training for the World Championships in Denmark, May 2020.
2019 European GB Medallists
|U14 Male||Joshua Tobin||Gajok|
|U14 Team Male||Oluwatimilehin Akinrele
|U65 Male||Ali Pourtaheri||Dragons Den|
|+66 Male||Mike Pejic||Pejic|
|U14 Male||Nino Ontoy||Manx|
|U14 Pair||Nino Ontoy
|U17 Male||Maximo Libid||PremierKi|
|U17 Pair||Emily Hoang
|U65 Male||Peter Johnson||Stoke|
|U65 Female||Angela Broadbent||Shins|