Tauranga's Queen Elizabeth Centre will host the 34th ITF Taekwon-do New Zealand national championships tomorrow and Sunday.
The event has attracted 350 competitors aged from 7-57 years, as well as 300 coaches and officials. Some of the current and past world champions competing include Carl Van Roon, Mark Trotter, Melissa Timperley and Estee Speirs.
Tournament joint organiser, Christine Young, is confident of a good showing from the 45 Tauranga competitors.
"There is a high standard among our local athletes and it is a great opportunity for the younger ones to get competition experience," she said. "Local medal hopefuls include Kara Timmer, 19, from the Hwa Rang Tauranga Club, who is a 2nd Dan black belt and former world junior champion, and is now stepping up to compete in the seniors.
"Kimogi Cho, 23, is a 1st Dan black belt. She is formerly from Siberia, Russia, and is now training at Hwa Rang TKD, and is hoping to trial for the New Zealand senior women's team. She is showing good potential in several disciplines.
"We also have some good talent coming through the junior ranks like Taylor Kennedy and Toby Langdon, who are both 13."
Many of the New Zealand representatives competing will be after a place in the team for the next world champs to be held in Italy in 2015, while others will be looking for tough competition as a build-up tournament to compete at the World Cup in Jamaica in August.
Disciplines at the competition include sparring, power breaking (board breaking), special techniques, patterns and team events.
New Zealand finished third last year at the ITF world championships in Spain but were the champion team when the tournament was held in Wellington in 2011.
*ITF Taekwon-do national championships are on from 9am to 5pm tomorrow and 9am to 4pm Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Centre. Entry is free.