The tournament squad from Farnham School of Tae Kwon Do won an impressive number of medals in their return to competitive action at the GTI National Open Championships in Cheltenham.

A relatively young squad of 14 members continued their form from earlier this year, bringing home a highly-respectable haul of 12 medals – comprising four gold, two silver and six bronze.

As always at the GTI Open series of tournaments, the standard of the competition was high.

The disciplines of patterns, point-stop sparring and continuous sparring attracted large numbers of competitors, whose skill and courage were appreciated by the noisy support throughout the day.

Patterns are a technical aspect of Tae Kwon Do, comprising a set of attacking and defensive movements executed in a logical sequence.

The judges looks for perfect technique, focus and power.

Those competing in the sparring categories take on their opponents in either point-stop or continuous sparring, according to their grade and/or age.

Farnham registered its first success of the day with a gold medal in green belt patterns for William Cary – who became a national champion at only nine years old.

Farnham club-mates Freddie Porter and Finn Price-Tooth had to play-off for bronze in the same category, with ten-year-old Freddie prevailing this time.

Farnham’s second champion of the day was 16-year-old Lulu Oram-Tooley, who is a prolific competitor and medal winner and won the gold medal in girls’ red belt patterns.

Eleven-year-old Keslyn Nawrattel brought home the silver medal in her blue and red belt patterns category.

There was more patterns success for Keslyn’s older sister, Tyla Nawrattel.

Recently promoted to first degree black belt, Tyla won the bronze medal after a play-off in girls’ black belt patterns.

Sam North (14), bagged another bronze medal for Farnham in his blue and red belt patterns category.

In the sparring categories, ten-year-old Finn Price-Tooth opened Farnham’s account with the silver medal in green belt point-stop sparring.

Later in the day, it was Farnham’s teenagers who accelerated the medal charge for the squad with some fierce and enthralling encounters in senior grade continuous sparring.

North doubled his medal tally for the day, with another bronze after three testing encounters.

Lewis Wilson then battled his way to bronze in his category.

There was bronze, too, for 18-year-old Ollie Verrian, who was competing in the adult categories for the first time.

Verrain took his vastly more experienced semi-final opponent to extra-time, before winning the play-off for bronze against another older, more experienced opponent.

Siblings Eden and Dylan Walker both enhanced their burgeoning tournament reputations with a gold apiece, making it an impressive four GTI National Open champions for Farnham.

The elder statesman of the squad, second degree black belt Nick Nawrattel, put in a creditable performance in black belt patterns, narrowly missing out on a medal in a three-way play-off. Youngsters Henry Elliott and Ankido Hussen also impressed in patterns and sparring.

Tim Ayres-Townshend, chief instructor and coach of the Farnham squad, said: “Stepping on to the Tae Kwon Do competition mats takes courage, and is where competitors discover so much about themselves – not only about their prowess in Tae Kwon Do, but their mental fortitude, strength of character and self-discipline.

“I’m immeasurably proud of the entire squad, not only as competitors, but for the commendable personal qualities they show beyond the boundaries of Tae Kwon Do.”

Next up for the Farnham Tae Kwon Do squad is the GTI British Open in December.

Anyone who would like more information about Farnham School of Tae Kwon Do should visit its website.

Tim Ayres-Townshend