This year’s Taekwon-Do European Championships were organized for the 29th time for seniors and 20th time for junior competitorss. The host was the mediterranean country of Italy. The event took place in Riccione on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The sports hall of Riccione called Playhall was built a few years ago, its fresh atmosphere gave the competition quite a positive spirit.
The Euros - unlike in the previous years - took four days instead of three. The wider time frame gave the umpires and the competitors enough time to rest and refresh between the events. Many countries and teams have already expressed their gratitude for this extra time to relax and for the high level of organization: all the events have started when they were supposed to start.
The Opening Ceremony took place on Wednesday evening at the event venue. It started unusually late but it was worth staying up. The highlight of the opening was the unexpected sparring match between two living Taekwon-do legends: Stephen Tapilatu from Netherlands and Toma Barada from Slovenia. Both athletes were winnig the World Champions Titles and used to compete agains each other in the past.
There was not only a competition held in Riccione. On Thursday Evening 24th April 2014 in VIP Hotel Ambasciatori took place the AETF Congress. After the presidential and financial reports the main subject was the following years’ European Championships and Cups - the delegates discussed the Championships between 2016 and 2018, and the Cups between 2015 and 2017.
On the event there were 63 categories this year and we have seen so many amazing performances by all the teams. It makes really hard to choose a few events to highlight.
One of the most spectacular events were the senior male individual pattern 4-6 dan where Mr. Jarosław Suska - the multi World and European Champion - has retired from competition. Everyone was curious who could take his place this year - and we have had several exceptional athletes competing for his place on the top of the podium. From 20 competitors at the end the French competitor Mr Lylian Doulay have succeeded to take the gold.
Another great performance was shown at the junior traditional sparring where the Hungarian team won the category with an excellent routine. Traditional sparring is not just about showing a good performance, but you have to show that your program is better than others.
They have made to the final for the final match against the Spanish team, but not even they were able to take the gold from them. The Italians have uploaded a video of their perfomance with the adjective “spettacolo” (in English: spectacular) and we can see the video shared by many instructors and masters around the world.
We saw a lot of different sparring levels. A few of the categories were decided without doubt: a few competitors have shown of their high level of fighting skills that even the finals were decided with a marked difference. But we have seen many even final matches - like the match for the first place at the juniors -62 kgs individual male sparring. The last match between Timothy Bos, the Italian's young star and Ryan Shelley, the Irish young warrior was not easily decided: the tides have changed many times during the normal match time, the result after 2 rounds was a tight, but finally Ryan has won the exceptionally heated match.
We should also mention the breaking categories where a lot of competitors have shown their best form. In senior male team power breaking three teams were able to break all boards prepared for the main round. Finally Poland took the gold here. In senior female team power breaking category where Germany was fighting for the first place with Poland. The Polish team was able to win the shiniest medal. In individuals for junior girls we should mention the young Alicia Romero (Hungary) who was the only one able to break all boards set for the main round. Alicia was the last to break her boards, everyone else at the main round were able to break the sonkal and the dollyo - in total 6 points, but no one was able to break the two boards set for the yopcha jirugi - except Alicia. She broke the sonkal, then the yopcha jirugi. At the end she tried to break the last board - with success, and so as the only junior female competitor breaking all boards she won the category flawlessly.
Of course we cannot cover all the categories as there were so many exceptional ones. There were no official video recordings of the event, however there is a list of videos made by spectators put together on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXMYI_LBmGk&list=PLlaguH2q-Qg0CxS99a_yT6CDWByPw4HRJ
(If you know more videos on youtube about this event which is not listed here please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org).
There was a medal awarding ceremony after each session which was highly appraciate by all participants.
On the invitation of GM Willem Jacob Bos - the Chairman of the Organizing Committee - in the Euros 2014 took part special guests: Grand Master Pablo Trajtenberg - President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, Grand Master Hector Marano - Chairman of the ITF Technical Instruction Committee, and President FETRA Argentina - one of the most numourous Taekwon-Do federations in World as well as Master Juan Ferrando - ITF Secretary General. All three assited by Masters from other countries did the honours by the awarding ceremony while giving the medals to the winners.
The presence at the championships of GM Trajtenberg and GM Marano, who togheter with GM William Jacob Bos wrote a book "The Art of Taekwon-Do ITF" was a great opportunity for participants to get the autographs of all three authors.
The final overall standing was decided based on the number of the medals won. For the twenty second time Poland took the throne gaining 22 gold medals, 18 silver and 11 bronze ones.
See overall medal table for countries: 132.Medal Classification for Countries.pdf.
The best junior and senior competitors and also the best junior and senior teams were awarded with a cup.
The official results can be found at http://euro2014.pztkd.pl under the Reports (results of the categories) and Other Reports (Overall repors - see Classifications) tab.
High quality photographs taken at the event are available on the following websites:
Photos by Master Jerzy Jedut at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203596726058539.1073741855.1227275925&type=1Photos
by Carmel Horowitz at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.459242997543897.1073741856.187232104744989&type=1Photos
by Norbert Érseki - AETF Reporter at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152392447693554.1073741840.754348553&type=1&l=d7280e9b1d
Don't forget: the next AETF event will be the European Cup in October, later this year in Hungary, Budapest, and the next European Championships will be held also in October, 2015 in Scotland. See you there!
Report by Norbert Érseki (AETF Reporter)
Source: AETF Website www.itfeurope.org