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Taekwondo Captures 3 All-Star Team Spots

By Christina S. Park

TEAM MEMBER

MIT’s Sport Taekwondo Team kicked off the year with a strong showing in the Ivy/Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL) All-Star Taekwondo Team Trials, taking three of the eight available spots on the INCTL All-Star Team.

At this double elimination black-belt-only competition, held at West Point Military Academy last Saturday, MIT competed in a pool of more than 10 schools, which included Princeton, Cornell, NYU and Columbia.

The tournament consisted of four men’s and four women’s divisions (consolidated fly, feather, welter, and heavy) where the champion of each division would become a member of the INCTL All-Star Team, which will travel in January to compete with other collegiate Taekwondo programs across the country. Each round of competition consisted of three two-minute rounds, with the exception of men’s finals which were three rounds of three minutes each.

Veterans Park, Osuji secure spots

Christina S. Park G, a defending member of last year’s All-Star Team, started the day strong in the women’s consolidated heavy (over 147 lbs) division. She dominated in her two matches against NYU by score margins of 15-3 and 11-1 and successfully defended her spot on the team.

Chinedum O. Osuji G was undefeated on the day in the men’s consolidated welter (147-171 lbs) division. With the experience of major international tournaments such as the World Championships and the Pan American Games under his belt, he dominated the largest division of the tournament.

He won his first match against John Jay College handily with a score of 14-1. Osuji’s second match, against a competitor from the University of Buffalo, ended in a final score of 8-3 after some fast exchanges of double-kicks. In his semi-final match against John Jay, Osuji was leading 1-0 when his opponent forfeited due to injury. In the finals, Osuji met the West Point team captain, who had two knockouts on the day. Osuji remained unfazed as he controlled his last match with a final score of 6-3 to earn his spot on the All-Star Team.

Sinn shows promise in debut

Richard J. Sinn ’06 turned heads in his first INCTL tournament, taking the men’s consolidated feather (127-147 lbs) division spot and ending the previously undefeated record of Temple University’s Late Lawson. Sinn received a bye in the first round, and entered confidently into his second round against John Jay College. He was leading by a score of 4-0 before his opponent forfeited the match. In his third round, he beat Lawson 5-2, showing that he was both faster and stronger by attacking first and always getting the last kick.

Lawson moved his way back up the brackets to face Sinn later on, where Sinn lost on an exciting 3-3 tie decision after having received two penalties. After a brief break, Sinn faced Lawson again, in the finals match, where the score was tied 2-2 after the second round. The match was looking as though it would come down to another decision, when Sinn scored 2 points on an exchange of double-kicks, pulling ahead to win with a final score of 4-2.

The newest addition to the Sport Taekwondo Club and the youngest member of the 2002-2003 All-Star Team, Sinn shows a lot of talent and potential for the upcoming competition year.

Others earn medals

Immediately following the All-Star Team Trials was an invitational tournament, where several other MIT students earned medals for forms and sparring. In the men’s black-belt forms division, Jonathan Niemczura ’03 and Beracah Yankama G placed first and third, respectively. Baochi T. Nguyen G added to their successes by placing second in women’s red-belt forms. The men’s A team (Tim Lee ’04, Sinn, and Yankama) placed third in the black-belt sparring division, losing in the semi-finals to West Point despite a 5-0 victory by Sinn.

Osuji, Park, and Sinn will join with fellow All-Stars from Princeton, Pratt, and Cornell to represent the League this winter. Meanwhile, Sport Taekwondo Club continues to train hard for their next tournament on Oct. 20 at New York University.