Years of hard work aiming for a world championship gold medal have finally paid off for two Tauranga Taekwon-Do
Daniel Cossey and Toby Langdon from the Martial Arts Academy won a gold medal for New Zealand in the Team Special Techniques at the ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships held in Dublin, Ireland in October.
They struck gold in the team event that needs five team members to hit high targets with flying kicks under intense pressure.
Langdon, 16, who competed for his club at the world cup in Budapest last year, is delighted with the gold.
"I have always been doing competitions since I started and I guess the worlds is the ultimate goal to go to. Getting a gold medal is the pinnacle of achievement in the competition aspect of Taekwon-Do.
"I want to go again and try and improve and get better. Hopefully, win more golds."
The part-time magician, who would love to be a stunt performer in movies, said he entertained the New Zealand team in Dublin during the downtime.
"I did the odd trick for the NZ team with about 20 people in my dorm. I got some good reactions. I do card tricks and other types of magic but no rabbits as I am allergic to them so it wouldn't work," he said, laughing.
Langdon said Taekwon-Do is helping to turn around young lives every day.
"I see some kids come in here who are troublemakers and they go up the grades and they learn how to respect others, be courteous and learn how to be a better person really. Learning manners is a big thing.
"Taekwon-Do is not just about the fighting. It is self-defence, the patterns, the sequence of movements, balance and flexibility."
Cossey, 17, would have liked to have medalled in his specialty events but is proud to be part of the gold medal-winning New Zealand team.
"Overall, it was an amazing experience and New Zealand were second-best country so that was awesome. Getting a gold medal was way beyond my expectations. I am very pleased," he said.
"In the team event each person does one of the five kicks and we got all five which none of the other teams did."
Martial Arts Academy director Christine Young, a sixth-dan black belt and former New Zealand and world champion title holder, said in any sport, but particularly martial arts, it is about character values and character development.
"It goes way beyond the punching and kicking. It is about goal-setting, achieving self-discipline and confidence and going outside your comfort zone," she said.
"Some of those core values like consideration for others, responsibility and resilience are things the kids can take into their critical years at school and beyond."
Defending champion Frances Lloyd from Te Puna's Silla club won a team silver and two bronze medals in Dublin in her last international competition as a junior.