A haul of top medals for taekwondo team
Along with a few medals, Maui Oliver got more than he bargained for when he attended the Taekwondo Federation World Championships in Argentina a couple of months ago.
While wandering with team members through a street market in Buenos Aires, Maui heard his name called out. It was former Special Olympics snow boarding competitor Bob who coached Maui for three years before the 2010 Thru Special Olympics.
That was one special moment among many for the mixed abilities 18-member team — 11 special needs and seven mainstream — which brought back their biggest haul from a competition with 43 medals between them — 14 gold, 20 silver and nine bronze.
Maui’s contribution was a gold for the individual pattern, another in mixed abilities self defence and a silver in the special needs team pattern.
“It was a challenging trip, with the motel an hour away from the competition and trying to keep 36 people focused. There was often a frantic, mad dash to get someone ready for their event,” says Maui’s father and one of the accompanying adults, Ray Oliver.
“But the whole team did extremely well.”
That included a haka in front of the crowd on the third day.
“It was quite cool — it drew attention to us,” Maui says.
Ray says the Argentinian-based ‘worlds’ were a step up from the 2016 New Brighton event, which members of this year’s team also attended — the first for the special needs contingent.
“This event was further ahead — it’s going forward.”
Team coach Ben Evans described the July trip to Argentina as extremely successful and is now in the process of working towards putting a team together for the Russian worlds in 2020.
“I really want to thank our gold sponsor Mitre 10,” Ben says.
‘It was a challenging trip, with the motel an hour away from the competition and trying to keep 36 people focused.’ RAY OLIVER
Maui Oliver bringing home his medals from the World Taekwondo Championships in Argentina in July.
NZITF returns home from the Taekwondo Worlds in Argentina with a haul of medals.