On the 8 September 2012 Team Pilsung which included Darren Stokes and Josh Furness coached by Andrew Hill attended the 2012 National Championships at the Manchester velodrome.
This was the first day of a marathon tournament with a record breaking 600 plus competitors from peewee to veterans, from all corners of the United Kingdom.
Josh was competing in the junior -51kg division and Darren in the senior -80kg division.
First on the mat was Josh Furness facing Waran Nithirajah from Gurumu Taekwondo, Josh has faced Nithirajah twice before and has lost on both occasions and was determined to make this time different.
Josh came out guns blazing and took the fight to the Gurumu player who was not used to this level of ferocity from Josh and despite Josh losing his video reply card (video replay was not available) early on due to a disputed head shot the first round ended at 4 – 4.
The second round saw Josh take the lead with a superb head shot in the middle of the round and even though Josh was racking up the kyong go’s (deductions) he still ended the 2nd round 8 – 6 up.
The third round Josh tried to hold on to the lead but unfortunately the number of deductions took its toll and the match ended in official time at 8 – 8.
That called for an extra round (Golden Score) again Josh came out like a rocket determined to take this match with a flury of shots from both players the eventual winner Nithirajah had taken advantage of Josh trying for the head shot and had snuck under and caught Josh on the left flank for a single score, even though it was well noted that Josh hit his opponents head before hand but this was discounted.
Following the match Josh was still very upbeat and couldn’t wait to get back on the mat and build on his new found experience and confidence, Coach Andy Hill said:
“I am very proud of Josh today he excelled to another level the hard work he has been putting in at training in the last few months showed, his concentration, fitness and execution were all on point it was circumstances out of Josh’s hands that didn’t give him the victory”
After waiting over 9 hours it was finally Darrens time to shine, Darren had not fought for a few years but had been training hard over the past 6 weeks and was determined make this fight his fight, he was facing the Dorset player Hamza Haraga.
The first round was very cagey both fights not giving an inch with both players faking and moving around the ring the round ended 1 – 0 to Haraga. The second round was very different Haraga built on his first round lead and took the fight to Darren who fought well but was struggling to put points on the board and complete his attacks, the second round ended again to Haraga 8 – 0.
The final round was another tough round for Darren and Haraga continued to extend his lead, part way through the early round Darren had sustained a slight injury to his left foot, but carried on but this round aggravated it further and there was a stoppage to allow his coach Andy Hill a quick look at the situation. Darren carried on with the match ending at 14 – 2 to Haraga and Darren going home with a Bronze medal.
Even though there were no victories for the Pilsung players they both had learned a great deal and they were determined to embody the spirit of Pilsung “Victory through Perseverance”.
They are now preparing for their next encounter.
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b_obQt2zq8[/youtube]
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euqq3FEnyWk&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]