World's best heading to Morayfield

Published 4:00pm 10 May 2023

World's best heading to Morayfield
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured: Mayor Peter Flannery and Australian Taekwondo CEO Heather Garriock watch Noah Walls and Maxwell Wraight in action at Morayfield. 

Morayfield is to host the return of international taekwondo in Australia – with a reigning world champion this week joining the early entries.

Three major competitions, the first in this country since COVID, will be held at Morayfield Sport and Events Centre from July 7-9.

The Australian Open is back for the first time since 2019, with the Oceania Open Poomsae Championships and World Taekwondo President’s Cup (Oceania).

Open to the world’s elite black belts, disciplines include Kyorugi (Sparring), Para-Kyorugi (Sparring) and Poomsae (Patterns) with ages ranging from 12 to 60-plus years.

Each events carries world ranking points and will be preceded by a Cadet World Championship Select tournament.

From left: Tournament Director Carlos Lakerdis, Mayor Peter Flannery, Australian Taekwondo CEO Heather Garriock at this week's announcement in Morayfield. Picture Richard Walker

Around 400 entries are expected for each of the main tournaments, bringing 1600 visitors to the region, for 6400 visitor nights and an economic boost of $1.3 million.

World champion Woo-heok Park, of South Korea, who won the men’s welterweight title at the 2022 World Championships in Mexico, sent his registration this week.

“Morayfield is a fantastic new venue,” Australian Taekwondo CEO Heather Garriock said. “Council has been very accommodating. It ticks all the boxes - 100 per cent.

“From an investment point of view, this is the highest (amount) we have ever received and shows how serious Moreton Bay Regional Council has been.

“This is really prestigious. The highest competition you can get (in Australia). If you want to go to the Olympic Games for taekwondo, you have to be at this tournament.”

Isabel and Thomas McDonald watch Ellowyn Geyl and Maxwell Wraight in action.

The World Taekwondo President's Cup (Oceania) and Australian Open are mandatory events for Australian Kyorugi athletes vying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

President of the Oceania Taekwondo Union John Kotsifas said it was “critical for the development of Oceania athletes to have access to elite international competition”.

“These events bring some of the world’s best taekwondo athletes, including Para athletes, to Australia,” he said.

Mayor Peter Flannery said it’s “very exciting” and a “win, win for us”.

“It is great to present Moreton Bay to the national and international community, the facilities we have here, the love and passion people have for sport.

Mayor Peter Flannery with officials and taekwondo athletes in Morayfield.

“We understand the importance of a national competition to the area and the economic impact it can have on businesses with people here and spending their money.”

Carlos Lakerdis, the Australian Taekwondo Tournament Director who lives in Caboolture, said it had been his aim to bring such competitions here for “about five years”.

“We’re expecting a lot of top 30-50/60 ranked athletes because they can get points to be selected for invitations to the Grand Prix and Olympics,” he said.

The Oceania Open Poomsae Championships will run on July 7, World Taekwondo President's Cup (Oceania) on July 7-8 and Australian Open on July 9.

Spectator tickets, for the three-day sporting showcase at 298 Morayfield Rd, are on sale from the Australian Taekwondo website austkd.com.au.

Thomas and Isabel McDonald show their taekwondo moves.

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