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Josh Rowland, left

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Over 45 of the best black belts ITF Taekwon-Do exponents from throughout Australia and New Zealand converged on Hobart for the 2012 ITF Taekwon-Do Oceania Championships last weekend.

The competitors included 2011 Junior World Champion and best overall female junior competitor, Miss Kara Timmer (Tauranga, NZ), as well as Hobart’s own bronze Medallist at the 2011 Junior World Champs Gabrielle Anastasio. Miss Anastasio competed as a junior for the final time before the World Cup that is being held in Brighton, England in October this year winning gold in the female junior blackbelt special techniques, silver in the second degree junior female patterns and silver in junior sparring. Local competitors included Josh Rowland from Woodbridge won gold in the male colour belt power breaking; David Walters from Battery Point won gold in the male junior blackbelt power breaking. Lilly-Ann Collins won gold in children’s sparring. Dana Gillies won gold in childrens patterns and special techniques. Harry O’Byrne from West Hobart won gold junior intermediate sparring.

The competitors ranged in age from 7 years to 56 (Mr Charles Van Beelen) a competitor who won the Bronze Medal at the 2011 World championships for Power Breaking.

The Championships were a selection event for candidates for the opportunity to represent Australia at the World championships in Benidorm, Spain in 2013. Gabrielle Anastasio and David Walters are likely to achieve selection.

Southern ITF Taekwon-Do offers professional instruction by 6th Degree Instructor Steve Weston. Junior World Championship contenders Gabrielle Anastasio and Isabella Weston assist with running fun classes specifically for children. Independent studies have demonstrated that martial arts are beneficial to children and improve mental focus, increase attention span and consequently help children to achieve in the academic and social settings as well as greater self-confidence and the ability to defend themselves emotionally and physically against bullying.