What does a 7:20am start, battle crying, and Nando’s have in common? A taekwondo tournament weekend, that’s what.

On the 11th of February, seven ICU Taekwondo competitors brought home five gold medals, one silver, and one bronze from the Lion’s Cup Taekwondo Tournament, held at Nottingham Trent University Sport’s Centre. We left the afternoon before, piling into one of the college’s minibuses -which thankfully didn’t break for this competition- and arriving in the early evening. The disorganised half of us hadn’t prepared dinner. The solution? Nando’s! It’s just protein and good carbs, making it the perfect pre-competition food -PS: not sponsored-, as confirmed by our coaches.

With the fire alarm at the hotel going off as we headed to bed, our excitement turned to tension as we dreaded the 7:20am meeting time the next day.

We woke up and the morning was cold. The journey from the hotel was cold. Weigh-in was also cold. Competitors started taking naps on the gym floor. But as the day progressed and the competition started, things started to get heated.

“ICUTKD left Lion’s Cup second place in the overall UK Taekwondo University rankings, and first in the Indomitable Cup”

Lion’s Cup launched the first poomsae (patterns) competition of the year. Three golds were obtained by Huey Shan Tey, Junling Ong and Joon-Ho Son, while Bryan Chong achieved a remarkably close silver, and Angela Sun, bronze. Little is known about Poomsae outside of the Taekwondo world. However, each pattern requires skill, accuracy, and far greater muscle control than sparring, the fighting variant. With so many successes, ICUTKD is without a doubt one of the best university clubs in the country for poomsae. Triumphant in poomsae, spirits were high, but kicks were even higher as fights began. Four 10mx10m rings were set up in line, cordoned off by massive signs separating competitors from the cheering crowds. Not only did Joon-Ho Son win gold in WTF sparring, but Angela Sun also achieved gold in ITF sparring. Finally, the arduous work and passion of these two first-year students paid off.

Massively successful, ICUTKD left Lion’s Cup in second place for the overall UK Taekwondo University rankings, but more importantly, took first place in the Indomitable Cup, where points are allocated based on wins per number of competitors – a better measure of the quality of competitors.

With Student Nationals coming up this weekend, ICUTKD is hoping to secure the Indomitable Cup, and qualify as many players as possible for the European Student Nationals. So keep an eye out on for the final results!

Special thanks to instructors, coaches, members, volunteers and committee for dedicating their time to getting us to the top!