Outstanding feats by our team at the 2018 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships held from 15 to 18 November 2018 in Chinese Taipei. The team of 8 players, lead by Mr Lee Thiam Poh, captured the first ever World Poomsae medal for Singapore with another player finishing in 5th place.
Although the Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF) only fielded a token team of 8 players, they did us proud by achieving the best results since we last competed in the World Poomsae 5 years ago in 2013. This is only the third time we have participated in the event.
STF’s warrior nun, Sister Linda Sim won the first ever world Poomsae medal for Singapore beating the defending champion Bronwyn Butterworth from Australia in the quarter-final.
It was a tense competition as both players were equally matched. Sister Linda beat Butterworth in the first poomsae but made a slight stumble in her second poomsae after her side kick in Taeback. It was nail biting waiting for the final score as we knew that it would be a very close fight between the two players. When the score flashed at 6.590 to 6.500, the Singapore camp broke into cheers as Sister Linda had beaten the world champion by 0.09 point!
In the semi-final, she was up against the youngest competitor in her division, Martinez Patricia from Mexico. Sister Linda gave a good showing against the younger Patricia who was slightly more agile. It was also a tightly contested semi-final with the final score standing at 6.970 to 6.710. Patricia won by only 0.26 point.
Not to be outdone by the oldest member of the team, our youngest player, 13-year old Nicholas Khaw, competing in his first major competition, ‘fought’ and made his way into the final of the Cadet Division.
In the prelimiary round, Nicholas was drawn into the tougher group comprising Korea, Denmark, Thailand, Iran, Philippines, Vietnam and Spain. It seemed to be an uphill challenge but Nicholas was in his element going into the routine. He completed the semi-final tying at 7.130 with Iran. An extraordinary feat as Iran is one of the powerhouses in Poomsae. Nicholas finished 5th out of 14 players in the semi-final. The top 8 semi-finalists would proceed to the final which was conducted in the single elemination format. Nicholas ranked 5th going into the final and was drawn against the Iranian who finished 4th.
Nicholas was first onto the mat against the Iranian. At the end of the first poomsae, the score was 7.320 to 7.240 in favor of the Iranian. In the second poomsae, it was a heart-stopping wait for the score because the 2 players’ performance were both similar. Both the players received the same score for their second poomsae and the final score came to 7.310 to 7.270. Nicholas lost by a whisker of 0.04 point to the Iranian! It was both a heartwrenching and satisfying moment.
It would have been a fairytale ending for Nicholas if he had won a bronze medal in his first major competition. But Nicholas can certainly hold his head high by finishing 5th in the world out of 27 players in his division. Nicholas has also shown that he is a force to be reckoned with as he has held himself well against some of the powerhouses, giving them a good run for their money.
We are also proud of the rest of the team members, Chelsea Sim, Diyanah Aqidah, Nicole Khaw, Woon Yong Chuang and Alamand Mik, for giving their best efforts in the competition.
It was indeed an amazing and enriching trip as our players had shown that they too, are capable of producing world level performance. They have also shown that they had what it takes to be a world class player. It was wonderful to see the high level of camaraderie amongst the players on and off the mats, making the competition not only enjoyable but fulfilling.