A haul of top medals for taek­wondo team

Hastings Leader - - News - BY BRENDA VOWDEN brenda.vowden@nzme.co.nz

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.

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