Taekwondo open expects over 200 competitors

Annual martial arts tournament to feature latest electronic scoring system

The Olympic sport taekwondo will take centrestage in Parksville this weekend.

Cascadia Martial Arts will be hosting the 2017 Island Open Taekwondo Championships at Oceanside Place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

The annual event, which is in its seventh year, is one of the biggest martial arts tournaments on the island. It draws more than 200 competitors from all over Vancouver island and also from the mainland.

It will feature athletes from white belt to black belts who will be competing for honours in either sparring, which is full-contact fighting at the black belt level, or in poomsae, fighting patterns.

The Island Open has grown over the years. It has become a popular event that offers a unique competition experience to everyone, especially for taekwondo clubs on the island as it allows them to send more competitors, something they cannot do when they have to compete on the Mainland due to BC Ferries cost and other expenses.

As well, this tournament provides taekwondo practitioners on the Island an opportunity to get their feet wet and experience what it is like to compete.

Some of the expected participants this weekend are at a high level and are preparing to compete at the Canadian championships. The local club has three of its members that are currently training for the nationals.

Dustin Fee, one of the instructors at Cascadia, said that for the first time this year, it is bringing the much improved KP&P electronic scoring system, which was a legacy from the recent 2016 World Junior Taekwondo Championships held in Burnaby.

“With proper contact, it’s not the judge deciding anymore,” said Fee. “If it’s a clean hit then it automatically goes on the board. It will be used in the black belt sparring.”

The local club has been preparing for this event. Recently, it hosted a sparring workshop that was conducted by 2008 Olympics silver medallist Karine Sergerie, who shared some of her fighting programs and routines.

Fee said Cascadia students are looking forward to competing this weekend.

The poomsae and sparring for kids nine years old and younger takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Pairs Poomsae will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. For competitors 10 years and older, their events take place from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The featured KP&P black belt WTF Olympic sparring is scheduled to start at around 2:30 p.m. and will be followed by recreational sparring from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fee invites the public to come out and watch young athletes perform their discipline.

Parksville Qualicum Beach News