Saturday 7th September was a long day at the British Taekwondo Championships at the Manchester Velodrome but a very fruitful day for our Pilsung hopefuls Radford Love playing at -57kg in the Male Cadet Category and Amn Sahota playing at -67kg in the Senior Female category.
The event started the day before for both players who had to spend over 2 hours stood in-line waiting to weigh-in at the Manchester Velodrome Cycling Centre with over 500 players other players, this was a long drawn-out processes but had to be done to make sure both coaches and players got the official accreditation to take part the next day.
The day started early for Radford setting off for Manchester with his father Alrick and Pilsung coaches Andrew Hill and Craig Wallace at 7:30am but something Radford was used to after previously completing a full months of alternative morning runs sometimes setting out at 6:15am for a tuff 4 mile slog around Pitsmoor, this gave Radford a strong fitness foundation needed to sustain alertness and concentration at the Nationals where he was expected to spend over 12 hours of the day.
The day started a little easier for Amn who had spent the night in Manchester and so didn’t have to travel as far but this being her debut National Championships this didn’t stop the build-up of pre competition nerves.
Once settled in at the venue around 9:30 and just after the coaches meeting, the day was set out with Amn and Radford, Amn was fighting first against Bethany Thomas from Taekwondo Tigers on ring 6 at about 11:30am and Radford would have to wait until after lunch at 3:30pm for his first fight against Jack Howarth from Chi Taekwondo.
Just after 11:30am Amn’s match got started, coached by Andrew Hill she quickly scored her first point and built up a 2:0 lead until a couple of Kyongo’s and a Gajown later they were both level at 2:2 and that’s how it finished round 1. Half way through Round 2 Amn started to find her grove and started to score multiple time and quickly built up a comfortable lead and end the 2nd Round 11:2 and half way through the 3rd Round the match was stopped with a 12 point gap and Amn announced the winner, a fantastic start for her first national contest.
After lunch the matches started to flow a little easier and Radford’s match was moved to a different ring and started a little earlier, coached by Craig Wallace he started steady against someone he had fought perviously quickly picked up a few points and ended the first round 4:0 up. After a steady round Radford started step it up and started to pick up points whenever the opportunity presented itself including a couple of head shots and by the end of the round in a comfortable lead. Going round for the 3rd round the all Radford had to do was keep his lead and make it hard for his opponent to score, he did this with ease and finished the match 9:1 winner.
At the very same time coached by Andrew Hill Amn was on her second match of the day against YASSINE SAIDOUNE from St Karthines Taekwondo who was a much tougher opponent early on in the match Amn was down by 2 points and the first round end with her behind, things didnt get any easier for Amn through Round 2 and Round 3 as the opponent slow pulled away and won with a very convincing 14:4, but a great day out for Amn who loved the experience and was happy with her Bronze medal.
With the day coming to an end the Finals were slowing being played out and Radford was up next, coached by Andrew Hill against Reswon RAI of STKDD this match turned out to be a much different match and a lot more tactical with both players testing each other and feeling each other out and with a an early loss of this opponent replay card the first round ended at 0:0, the 2nd round wasn’t much different until Radford managed to get a break and get ahead ending the 2nd round 2:0 up. The 3rd round was more of the same with both players not giving an inch until Reswon managed to pick up 2 points and 2 Kyongo’s bring the match up to 2:3 and putting Radford behind with 15 seconds left, Radford stayed calm and with a last effort scored a nice shot that squared the match 3:3 and set up a golden point round.
With a very tense atmosphere and with both players nursing injuries they had picked up throughout the match the both players limped out for the start of the round and after a quick fake by Radford and seeing his opponent move back he went for the score within 7 seconds of the start match Radford had won with a very effective strike to the hogu and lifting his hand to the sky in disbelief and joy, making him the 2013 National Champion.