A Hawke's Bay Taekwon-Do Federation regional director said he was 'blown away' by the support of the Hawke's Bay community.

As a result of huge generosity, Ben Evans said 11 special needs and 7 mainstream athletes were selected to represent New Zealand at the ITF World championships in Argentina.

The event is expected to attract more than 60 countries.

"All I can personally say is what a fight its been to get $100,000 together to fully fund our whole squad going. We have worked so hard to get all the money together since June 2017.


"I'm amazed at the support from the community to us. Its truly amazing to know and see support we have with what we do for the kids/adults with or without special needs in the community"

Evans said a number of different organisations had come forward to support getting the athletes overseas.

"Hastings District Masonic Trust gave us a significant amount. We have had Pub Charity fund our tracksuits. We have had funding donation from both Hastings District and Napier City councils."

"Sport Hawke's Bay, North and South Trust, Rotary Ahuriri Sunrise have been a great contributor to our efforts and so has Stortford Lodge Rotary Club, which gave a donation towards the costs."

"We have had great support from our sponsors. Gold Sponsor Mitre 10 Mega Napier and Hastings has done so much both helping us generate money with public demonstrations and their contribution to our athletes. We would also like to thank the Rickets for their huge support."

Evans said they had been working incredibly hard for the second Special Needs Taekwon-Do World Championships and along with the mainstream competition in their respective events.

A lot of the team are fresh contenders to the world stage, with a total 18 going.

Evans said it was the biggest team he would be taking to the world championships.

"We have two from Flaxmere Irongate School who are now at high school, Tyrese Christie and Jodie Filipo - who are now the first black belts."

"Both are big assets to the team and our organisation as they're also instructors. Jodie is literally feared by all girls and is looking to bring it back. She's 15 years old, even the boys get a tough time sparring her."

Evans said it would be the first time any of the athletes have travelled overseas.

"That may be hard to imagine, but to many its financial barrier. With such a unique team we have going, I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us."