Day Thirteen April 11 - homecoming
We are all very tired and looking forward to being home. The group has become close, and all are dedicated to improving. The players have indicated that they all want to return to the international arena and do much better. Training starts this Sunday (the 15th)....
Day Twelve April 10 - the return home
Yesterday we toured the Pyramids and the Cairo Egyptian Museum. Both were well worth it. Both must be done with a tour guide though. We would have been hopelessly lost otherwise. The pyramids were huge, and impressive. Our guide is currently studying Egyptology towards a PhD thesis in the mummification processes. He really knew his stuff. The Cairo Museum- we could have stayed there for 2 days.
Today we are waiting in the Hotel until our bus comes at 3pm. This is not so bad as we are looking very tired.
Day Eleven April 9th
I am now sitting in the restaurant of the Movenpick, using the internet for the first time since the 5th. Trust me on this one, a 21st century traveller needs the internet.
On reflection, the tournament was a success for the New Zealand players (individuals) who came. What they have learnt personally will lay a solid foundation for their future international competition career.
Though we did not get any fighters to the round of 16, we have seen examples of what our players must attain. These players have confirmed their commitment to get there, and we are equally committed to making this happen.
Day Ten April 8th - Competiton Day 5 and last day
Scott and Daniel finished at the 64th round, while Nikau finished in the round of 32. A great experience for Scott as he fought a competitor from Jordan who went on to win the silver medal. Scott showed no fear and continued to shear and trade his best techniques with the vice World Champion. Daniel fought fearlessly through the first and second rounds, employing the "fist of God" technique. Uncle Tim was very impressed with the young man. Nikau was the closest New Zealand had to a round of 16 competitor. Fast and furious, Nikau lead through a lot of the match. It was the fitness in the last 20 seconds that counted for her opponent.
Leaving Sharm El Shiek, and leaving behind many new friends, we fly to Cairo, getting in at 030am to our hotel, the Movenpick.
I would like to take this time to thank all the countries i have met, but in particular Afganistan, Libya and Hungary. I was able to talk at length with these countries, and learn many things from them. I am bringing a phrase back from the Junior World Championships- "United we stand, divided we fail"- and that is not a typo- if we are not united, we will fail our players and ourselves. Beware the patriot!
Day Nine April 7th - Competition Day 4
Weigh in day for Scott, Nikau, Daniel and competition for Jamie
Jamie received the bye in the 1/64 round, but faces either China or Romania in the round of 32. China lost to Romania.
Jamie finished top 32. Jamie's fighter was a good 30cm taller, a very tall female. The Romanian fighter just stood in close and head kicked Jamie out of the competition.
The lower weight divisions fight a different style from the higher, and the males are different again from the females. To come here with just onefighting style is to come unprepared.
Day Eight April 6th - Competition Day 3
Today WTF instructed the referees to penalize the holding up of one leg and coming forward. The leg must be actually be employing a kicking motion.
Weigh in Day for Jamie, and competition for Tayls
Tayla finished top 32. Tayla gave 100% and was in the match right up to the last seconds. It was her opponents style that defeated her not her commitment.
Day Seven - April 5th - Competition Day 2
Weigh in Day for Tayla, and competition for Braedon and Nataly.
Braedon finished top 32, It was a great learning experience for Braedon. His opponent ended up knocking his next opponent out who was from Spain
Nataly finished top 32. Nataly matched her opponents style, but height and speed were not in her favour.
Day Six - April 4th - Competition Day 1- 93 countries competing
Instead of training at 7am, the team stretched and moved- agility and movement. Last night the final members of the group arrived, so now the Taekwondo New Zealand team is complete. At 10am the team travelled to the venue to watch the elimination rounds. Back to the Hotel for lunch, then off to the venue again for ( in order)- 1. Weigh in, 2, Opening ceremony, 3. Finals night.
Weigh in for Braedon and Nataly. Braedon had a long wait- almost the full two hours- to get his first weigh done. Nataly was. 2kgs under weight- the dehydration of the day- and so had to drink two liters of water to qualify. Both got through.
Following was the opening ceremony. The team enjoyed themselves, lining up with all the other teams.
Training session after returning from the opening ceremony. Everyone voluntarily took part, all keen to get onto the mats- having watched the competition today, they feel they will be able to compete, and compete well.
Day Five - April 3rd
Training for the team was another 7am start. The team is bonding together nicely. Training this morning focused on stretching and movement. Our team talks and laughs constantly when stretching. We have a close knit group that looks out for each other. The other countries look and watch, I am sure wishing they were New Zealand team members.
The team is beginning to gets its "game face" on. We are drawing on the exploits, in this region, of the Anzacs and in particular the Maori Battalion. This further lifts the team's motivation to be proud and strong.
Today the team is going on a chartered boat cruise out to a sunken ship, and will scuba dive or snorkel over a coral reef. Everyone in the team is fit, well and fast.
For the Officials, today is the day for the General Assembly.
Day Four 2nd April
Today, trained at 7am, then breakfast and off to the beach. The Egyptian locals treat us like long lost friends, hot in the sun.
Back at the hotel by 3pm. Training in the evening was in the venue warm up Marque at 6pm. During the training, the TNZ Juniors got vocal - making a lot of noise. The other teams that were there began turning and watching New Zealand train- this lifted our team's confidence and spirits even further. It was a great thing to observe.
The Team Manager was on hand to witness the draw being done. Very fair to all concerned- New Zealand has done well across all it's players.
The draw for our athletes is:
Nataly See vs Mexico (April 5)
Braedon O'Brien vs Croatia (April 5)
Tayla Price vs Cyprus (April 6)
Jamie Carpenter vs China or Romania (April 7)
Nikau Teddy vs Spain (April 8)
Scott Casey vs Jordan (April 8)
Daniel Earwaker vs Azerbaijan (April 8)
All in bed by 9pm. No one has any "jet lag", or stomach complaints.
Day Three-1st April
Team registration and shopping at the local market. The registration went very smoothly (only 45 minutes). The Aida sits above the "Old Market"- just a 5 minute walk down hill. We went through the market, and we're introduced to "bartering". The afternoon was spent swimming in the pool, and sleeping.
Over half of the team weigh in over weight (at the Hotel). One of the TNZ team weighed in 3 kilograms over weight off the plane. It was the swelling due to travel in a pressurized cabin. On the plane, even though you felt thirsty, a lot of water is accumulated in the legs. It only took a day to rid the extra weight- it was a shock for the Team Manager. Trained the venue at 3pm.
Day Two- 31st March
After 32 hours of traveling (from Auckland) we are to a sunset in Sham El Sheik. We are picked up and taken to our hotel- the Aida Hotel. There are currently five teams here.
Arrived Dubai after 19 hours flight time. Now standing in line at Dubal Airport transferring flights to Cairo. Bordered the flight to Cairo, no hassles. Arrived Cairo, flew on approach over the Pryamids. Cairo is huge. Looking out the airplane window- all you can see is Cairo. Customs Officials in Cairo Airport are very helpful- even to the point of getting us on the Bus to the Domestic terminal. Now we are awaiting for the plane to Sham El Sheik.
WTF and the Egypt Taekwondo Federation are working tirelessly getting everything organized- and they are doing a great job.
Day One- 30th March
Meeting at the Auckland Airport International terminal at 3pm. The flight leaves at 640pm Friday. We get to our destination Saturday afternoon at 430pm (local time).