The exponents from the Hawke's Bay-based New Zealand International Taekwondo Federation looked knackered but they returned yesterday with enough bling to start a jewellery shop in Napier.

The 18-member contingent of the former HBITF scooped 43 medals at the five-day ITF World Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, early this month.

"You could almost say that our success at the world championship must mean that we're doing something right with our training," said the NZITF Hawke's Bay president Ben Evans.

"What we're doing here is working on the world stage so I'm quite proud because it's quite effective," Evans said.

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The seven mainstream and 11 special needs exponents returned with 10 gold medals between them.

He singled out Megan Chui, of Taradale, who not only claimed two gold medals - in special needs individual pattern as well as team patterns with Taraipine Tomoana and Laurence Rainham - but also kept an eye on other special needs teammates.

"In her energy, attitude and encouragement, she was great for team dynamics and held it together so we're really proud of it."

Chui, he said, had beaten two Argentines in her individual final which was no mean feat because host nations often dominated.

Evans said the world championship, staged from August 1-5, was teeming with so many people that they were unable to put a number on it but it was certainly a bigger turnout than the one held previously in England.

"I have never done so well. I got 52 points out of 52 in power breaking," he said after picking up a silver in the adult male division.

Megan Chui, winner of two golds and one silver, arrives at the Hawke's Bay Regional Airport from the taekwondo world championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo/Paul Taylor
Megan Chui, winner of two golds and one silver, arrives at the Hawke's Bay Regional Airport from the taekwondo world championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo/Paul Taylor

Hometown hero Cristian Junco clinched gold after smashing every one of the six boards in the two-way final showdown with Evans.

"We had to break six boards each with our heels when you make a reverse spin kick."

He could only manage two out of six but dented the board with his heel to leave imprints. He brought the boards back with him as memorabilia.

It was like a double-whammy celebration for the 28-year-old black belt who marked his birthday on August 8 while at Buenos Aires before carrying on from the airport heading back to New Zealand to profit from the time zone in the 12-hour flight.

"We just had a few celebration birthday drinks the night before that."

He had rebranded his club because their 250-member affiliation meant they were big enough to qualify as a national organisation because only 100 affiliates were required and also met the criteria of black belts with 20.

Evans was supposed to be graded for his fifth-degree black belt at the worlds but now grandmaster Trevor Nicholls, of England, will visit Napier before the end of the year to do that.

He thanked sponsors Mega Mitre 10 Hastings/Napier, Rotary Club of Ahuriri Sunrise, the Masonic Trust Hastings District and the pub charities after a concerted drive to raise more than $100,000 for the trip to the world championship.

"We got a lot of money so we want to thank everyone who contributed because they all add up," Evans said.

Travel-weary but elated New Zealand ITF exponents, with Ben Evans (left) show their medals at Hawke's Bay airport in Napier yesterday. Photo/Warren Buckland
Travel-weary but elated New Zealand ITF exponents, with Ben Evans (left) show their medals at Hawke's Bay airport in Napier yesterday. Photo/Warren Buckland

MEDAL WINNERS

Gold:

Jodie Filipo: Junior world champion power breaking.
Chassy Fitzgerald: Pre-junior power breaking world champion.
Heavenlee Nukunuku: Pre-junior power breaking world champion.
Maui Oliver: Special needs 1st dan patterns.
Oliver: Special needs mixed abilities routine with Tyrese Christie and Jayden Nicholson (x 3 medals).
Megan Chui: Special needs individual pattern.
Chui: Special needs team patterns teammates Taraipine Tomoana and Laurence Rainham (x 3 medals).
Peter Cullwick: Special needs individual patterns.
Tupuna Rangi: Special needs 1st dan individual patterns.
Taraipine Tomoana: Special needs individual patterns.


Silver:

Ben Evans: Silver, adult male power breaking, 52pts equal with world champion Cristian Junco who won gold in the final break.
Heavenlee Nukunuku: 55kg sparring pre-junior female.
Jayden Nicholson: Junior special technique.
Johann Landkroon: Special needs patterns individual 1st dan-3rd dan.
Thomas Jackson: Special needs individual patterns.
Landkroon/Evans: Mixed abilities performing a routine together.
Thomas Jackson: Special needs individual patterns.
Aidan McCance: 1st degree, special needs patterns individual.
William Askew: Team patterns special needs, with Oliver and Landkroon x 3.
Thomas Jackson: Peter Cullwick and Peter Lewis x 3 medals (team patterns special needs).
Chui: (Special needs mixed abilities with Maddy Tidey-Evans for performance routine) x 2 medals.
McCance: Mixed abilities with Filipo (special needs and mainstream working together peforming blind folded routine).
Askew/Nukunuku: Performing mixed abilities routine, x 2 medals.

Bronze:

Filipo: Junior female special technique.
Filipo: Hyper weight sparring 70kg+ junior female.
Tyrese Christie: Hyper weight 80+ junior male.
Fitzgerald: Pre-junior sparring -65kg.
Askew: 1st degree special needs patterns.
Laurence Rainham: Special needs patterns.
Peter Lewis: Special needs patterns.
Rangi: Mixed abilities with Fitzgerald x 2 medals.