Midleton take gold at PUMA World Opens

Last weekend saw the PUMA (professional unification of martial arts) World Opens take place in Swindon, England. With much support and fund raising from everyone in the club, four students from Midleton travelled over with a squad of Irish fighters to take part and between the four of them, came home with 8 medals including 4 gold!


Warren (40), who took gold in the IUTF International Irish Opens last November, took silver at the PUMA world opens in traditional forms and althought unlucky in the heavy weight sparring, he placed 3rd overall in destruction. 1st place in the destruction event was taken by a 7th degree blackbelt Master Svenson from Norway.


Thomas (31), who won gold at the IUTF MUnster Championships this year, also took gold at the world opens this weekend in traditional forms. He then fought four rounds in the middle weight sparring and represented his club well in destruction but missed out on medal positions.


A brother and sister then, Arnaud (16) and Verline (13), became the talk of the tournament when, as blue belts who have only trained in taekwondo for two years, took home 6 medals for their club and country, beating blackbelt competitors with years more experience under their belts.


Arnaud (16) started off the day by taking gold in traditional forms, and then fought 8 amazing rounds in the junior middle weight sparring to be narrowly beaten in the final winning him silver. He then fought as part of the junior male Irish team, who also made it to the finals facing the home favorites from England: Team PUMA. After a highly entertaining and highly contraversional final, including disqualifications and injuries, Ireland lost out but went home with world silver medals for the team fighters.


Verline (13) then topped her brother's amazing success, starting with winning bronze in tradtitional forms, and going onto win gold in junior heavy weight fighting. She also made it on the junior ladies Irish team, also facing England's Team PUMA in the finals. With five members on each team, both Ireland and England won 2 fights each with everything coming down to the last round. Verline was Ireland's final hope as a 13 year old blue belt, fighting in the under 17's blackbelt team, and she won! So Ireland took gold in the ladies team event and the entire Irish squad did their clubs and country proud.


Midleton instructor Mr. James Dwyer, who became the ITF Middle Weight World Champion in Korea 2010, is very proud of the success his club has had in the PUMA world opens. All of the Irish fighters that travelled over showed exceptional skill and determination and the Midleton club is proud to be among them. Already Midleton is looking forward to the next international event and is certain that they can acheive ebven greater success.

Midleton students and the Irish squad at the PUMA world taekwondo opens
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