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Taekwondo Club Has Strong Showing at Temple, Sends Park to International All-Star Competition

By Christina S. Park


On Sunday, September 30, the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club sent four black belts to the Ivy/Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL) All-Star tournament held at Temple University in Philadelphia. The black-belts only tournament was a double elimination sparring competition, and determined which four men and four women will represent the league in international competition in Puerto Rico this January.

In double elimination play, a competitor is eliminated from the tournament if he or she loses two matches. Each match consists of three two-minute rounds, until the semi-final and final matches, which are three rounds of three minutes. Situated in the corners of the rings, three judges score the matches based on kicks executed to the body or the head.

The eight international standard weight classes for Taekwondo competition were consolidated into four classes each for men and women: Fin/Fly, Bantam/Feather, Light/Welter, and Middle/Heavy.

Christopher K. Wilmer ’02 led off with the first match of the day in the men’s Bantam/Feather (131-147 lbs) division. This was first tournament in a black belt division. Despite being out of competition for over five years, he approached his matches without fear, remaining aggressive through the last minutes of his rounds.

The men’s Light/Welter (148-171lbs) division was the most heavily vied for spot on the All-star team, with the most competitors of the day. Although he was nursing a foot injury and had endured his second degree black belt test only two days prior to the tournament, Conor F. Madigan G sparred intelligently in his matches against Temple and Princeton, his alma mater. Facing this tough division, Conor kept the matches closely tied through the third round, where he was edged out by one point.

In his MIT debut, William A. Sanchez ’05 placed third in the men’s Fin/Fly (under 128 lbs) division. The most recent addition to the Sport Taekwondo Club, Sanchez brought the team its first medal with his speed and flexibility. In his first round, Sanchez drew the Cornell Flyweight who would later win the spot on the team, bu the compensated for lack of experience by surprising Cornell with unexpected kicks to the head. He easily won his second match, placing him in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, he lost in close rounds to earn him a bronze medal.

Coming off a 3rd place finish at the U.S. National Team Trials, Christina S. Park ’02 entered into the women’s Middle/Heavy (over 147 lbs) division, confident in her abilities. In the final match, her opponent’s six-inch height and 30-pound weight advantage did not faze Park as she won a spot on the All-Star Team, joining members from Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Massachusetts, and New York University. Park will next compete for MIT in the National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in Austin, Texas on October 25-26 to contend for a spot on the U.S. Collegiate Team. The U.S. Collegiate Team will compete in the World University Games in June 2002.

World Taekwondo Federation style Taekwondo is one of only two martial arts to be included in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and will also be featured in the Athens 2004 Games. The MIT Sport Taekwondo Club continues to train hard for its next tournament, which takes place at Cornell University on November 3rd.