I.N.T.A. National Championships 2017 report.
On Saturday 21 October the I.N.T.A. held its annual National Championships in the fantastic facilities of Gormanston Park. This year we saw the numbers increase to more than 600, with competitors from both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Tournament Committee expanded the amount of rings to 8, with no concerns for space in the 100 x 50 meter hall.
At the official opening, Master Douglas spoke about the recent promotion of the President of the INTA to Grand Master during the ITF World Championships a week earlier. All officials and competitors then bowed to the new IXth degree, Grand Master O'Toole. All other Masters and high ranking officials were introduced, as well as the organizing committee. Sabum Ross Smith received a warm applause for his part in winning the team sparring event for Ireland at the World Championships.
The tournament took off with the popular overhead kick for all of 12 years and under, which set a good mood. In the other four 4 rings the black belts started patterns, shortly followed by sparring and power, in order to free up umpires for this huge event. The tournament ran quite smooth, but the sheer volume of competitors made it a longer day for all involved. With 159 sections, there were plenty medals to be earned. There was excitement aplenty, and a positive, relaxed atmosphere remained throughout the day. We are grateful for the warm and constructive feedback we received; it was a great day out for all. There are some amazing photographs of the event on the tournament's Facebook page.
The Tournament Committee and Umpire Committee would like to thank all umpires for their tireless, unwavering commitment during this long day; without these 80 volunteers there just would be no tournament possible. We would also like to thank all parents and coaches for their efforts in making this such a wonderful day for all the competitors.
We look forward to seeing you all again at the 19th INTA Open International ITF Taekwon-Do Championships on 10 & 11 March 2018.