On Friday 24th June Mr Shillabeer travelled to Poland to compete at the European Championships.
Here is a little write up of the weekend.
So…after driving to Manchester airport then flying to Krakow Balice, Poland I had a further 3 hours of train travel to get me to the town of Czestochowa where the Taekwondo International Open European Championships would take place over the next 2 days. I arrived at the Arche Hotel at 6.30pm which was the official hotel for the Champs and the venue for competitor registration and weigh in. Having successfully made my weight (under 70kg – welterweight) I went out for some dinner before an early night ready for the next day. The event began with the opening ceremony, where each of the 15 countries that were being represented entered the impressive arena in turn and were introduced to the crowd.
First up for me was the Individual Traditional Patterns event. Being a 4th Degree black belt at present meant I was in the highest category with all 4th degree and higher black belts competing against each other to perform the best set of movements. Despite being European and World Musical Patterns Champions I had never medalled in this event at any European or World Championships so I was delighted to be awarded the highest scores and the Gold medal.
Next event for me was the Special Technique event, which consisted of having to kick a high target with a flying kick, which then was moved up higher each time a little like the high jump in the athletics. I was successful on several heights and the target was moved up until only myself and one other guy remained- a rather tall Ukrainian guy, who eventually kicked higher than me and left me in 2nd place. After this I then put my sparring equipment on and focused on trying to retain my European champion title from the last Championships in 2014 in Davos – where I won the Men’s Black belt Welterweight Point Stop sparring event. Unfortunately I was narrowly beaten 10-9 by a fighter from the Irish Team so had to the switch my attention back to my penultimate event- the Power Destruction competition. This entails breaking multiple boards with bare hands or feet using specified techniques. I managed to break through 6 boards using a side kick and came 2nd as a big Ukrainian guy again pipped me to the post with a break of 7 boards. Not a bad result as he must’ve weighed almost twice what I do! My final event was the Tag Team sparring in which teams of 3 men of any weight fight against each other tagging in and out as points are scored. Joining forces with 2 other English Team members this was great fun and provided a great atmosphere and after winning our first fight against a Polish team we were beaten by a few points by the Ukrainian Team so we were awarded Bronze. The finale of the competition is the International Teams event and Team Scotland edged out team England in the final to become European Team Champions. A great result for the UK and for me personally becoming European Champion for the 4th time.
Thanks to all my students at both clubs who let me have a few days off from teaching them to be able to compete and bring back the Gold!