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Taekwondo Takes 3rd

By Christina Park

TEAM CAPTAIN

On Saturday, April 6, the Sport Taekwondo Club took third place behind Cornell and New York University at the second Ivy/Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL) tournament of the spring semester, hosted by Columbia University.

The tournament day began with forms competition, where each student performed a choreographed set of techniques to be judged on merits such as grace, balance, power, and agility. Christina S. Park ’02 started off the points tally by placing second in the women’s black belt division. Dora Z. Kelle ’03 also placed second in the women’s white/yellow belt division, her first medal this year.

In the sparring competition, the women’s black belt A1 team (Baochi Nguyen G, Melissa Barbagelata G, Park) were seeded into the quarter-finals where they advanced past Wellesley College into the semi-finals. Facing Cornell A2, the team was eliminated, losing two of the three matches, despite a dominant match from Nguyen. In her advanced division debut, Barbagelata lost a close match, after having given a hard turning kick to her opponent’s head and forcing an eight-count.

B1 Men take gold in sparring

Picking up the momentum from the black belts, the men’s beginner and intermediate teams were able to advance MIT’s medal count as well.

The men’s C1 team (David D. Shin ’05, Baris Temelkuran ’02, Alex Park G) moved through the brackets and finished the day in second place, behind Johns Hopkins University. Though often outsized, Shin showed good footwork with well timed double kicks. Temelkuran won his first match by a large differential, consistently scoring with his right leg turning kick. Though injured, Alex Park sparred intelligently, using his steps to maneuver around and outsmart his opponent.

The men’s B1 team (Simon Bocanegra-Thiel ’04, Joshua Neubert ’03, Vladislav Gabovich G) finished the day successfully for the team, advancing through the brackets and emerging with the gold. Bocanegra-Thiel showed tremendous improvement in flexibility and timing, scoring several axe kicks in each round. Neubert toughed out each match, winning a very emotional final match by sheer will power. Gabovich, as usual, anchored the team, winning his first match 10-0, and instilling so much fear in his opponents that many of them forfeited.

The win adds to the continuing success of the MIT Sport Taekwondo Club, currently in fifth place in the INCTL.