Day 9 – Afternoon
More about that later…
It’s very hot in the stadium, and humid. The opening ceremony gets underway with the teams coming out one by one, we look great.
Canada has the largest team, and the Israel team has only one member, but he looks proud! This is followed by, you guessed it, the speeches. And there are a lot of them…all in Spanish. I’ll translate for you.
There we go. Actually it wasn’t that bad. Master Tran spoke in English but it was hard to understand him with the echo in the stadium, he was translated into Spanish as well, as he went which was a nice touch. Then Master Bonilla spoke, and then the President of Honduras.
Then there was guitar man, (the guy became a legend later on) he sat on a chair in front of the masters and sang this original song thanking General Choi, which was kinda really cool. The masters appreciated it.
Then there was the Haka! Yeah!
Men's team captain Chris Clencie shows 'em how it's done!
It was very well received with all the Masters getting out their cameras and videoing it. All the teams clapped and it was brilliant, you guys should be here! The team parted the other teams on the floor and lifted the roof with their volume, something I will never forget and not the last teary moment of the day.
Then there was the band. They were a high school band and played this calypso dance song, I was not sure what they were doing at first, until all the teams got up and did this massive conga across the floor, the Argentineans knew that kind of music and started everyone else off! There was yahooing, cat calling, jumping in the air, whoop whoops, and all the other classic party moves. Then everyone stopped…but the band played on, in fact they finished the song and started it again!
The officials tried to start the speeches up again, but the band wasn’t haven’t any of it and just kept going. Everyone waited patiently, and still the band played on, and on. Ok, they’re finished…no not quite…yep, I think…no still going. Ok, Hola! All done! A few more speeches and finally we are finished and can get back to the competition…
In the team event, the boys draw Argentina
At the same time the girls draw Poland.
Both teams are in at the same time, at each end of the hall. Hard to follow both! All 4 teams start with Gae-Baek; the girls draw Do-San as their optional and the boys Hwa-Rang. The Argentinean team are superb and the win goes to Argentina knocking the boys out in the first round.
The girls are sublime. Not a move wrong, not a foot, or even a finger out of place. They finish to a rousing applause from everyone and then they are lined up in the ring waiting for the result. It takes far longer than usual…YES! The girls beat the Polish team and are in next with the Argentineans.
The thing with the team events seems to be the choreography; there is a different one for each pattern, so that no matter what the judges pick as the optional, the teams do something different. The English and the Argentinean boys are superb, always together, and fantastic moves, starting in lines, circles, triangles, and back to back. The English boys have beaten the Poles and look unstoppable. But in the final, they are stopped by the Argentineans.
The girls are up first, again with Gae-Baek, and then Do-San again. They are great, but the Argentineans are excellent, so well choreographed it’s hard to fault them. I can’t call this one, it’s so close. Then both teams line up, the atmosphere and anticipation is electric. Can the girls do it again? And the Winner is…YES! The girls are in the final against the Canadians!!!!Giant Killers Again!!!!
Both female teams enter, after the coin toss the Canadians start. There is nothing in it and the optional pattern is Hwa-Rang, no mistakes from anyone. They finish and line up, the noise from the NZ team cheering them on is huge, and the English next to us join in cheering for our girls. Lined up next to each other, we wonder who it will be…No, it’s Canada. But the girls are all smiles, a silver medal in team pattern. Well done girls. That’s simply awesome.
By the way, Canada beat Argentina in the woman’s 1st Dan patterns, and Argentina beat Poland in the men’s. Woman’s 2nd Dan was wholly a Canadian affair, with the men’s being won by England, first and second no less.
Next up is specialty.
Stop the press…The specialty judges have just decided to enforce the rule requiring kicks to be scissor action. All competitors must use scissor kick style or be disqualified. NZ and Poland are not happy but there is no changing Master Bos’s mind, although Mark and Dave try. I think it is a little unfair to do this just before they are about to start, but it is in the rules. Poland and NZ hurriedly set up a small training area and they start learning to jump scissor style. There is now huge doubt on what for NZ were definite medal prospects.
Meanwhile Jess and David are warming up for their pre arranged. Then the competition starts, with Honduras. They are ok, lots of yelling, and falling. Then England, with lots of aerial acrobatics, they raise the roof with their performance and will be hard to beat.
Then it’s Jess and David’s turn.
They are excellent, so technically perfect, and slow motion too, the only team doing that. Acrobatics like England, but more on target without the theatricals. Great performance. Then USA are up, they are ok as well. My pick is either NZ or England, but of course NZ will win. The pre arranged is to be performed once today, twice tomorrow and once on Sunday, before the same judges, with the winners performing at the closing ceremony I think?
Meanwhile the specialty is still going, our guys haven’t been up yet. Lots of good jumpers though.
Sam, Shane and Chris finally appear, they have been trying to get the scissor kick right, out the back. Master Bos announces that female specialty will be tomorrow. Quite a few competitors seem to be withdrawing.
Suddenly Chris is up.
He misses the front kick, and then the turning. There is huge support from the team for him. He also misses the reverse and midair, then pulls out. He looks injured, but not too serious I don’t think.
Sam is up next. He also misses the front kick. It’s clear that they have been rattled having to change their style on the day. Then the turning, which he nails beautifully.
Reverse is next, Sam lines up and kicks the board so hard it flies out of the holder, (Awesome photo Doug!) the crowd roars their approval, and not just the NZ team. Unfortunately he misses the midair and in the flying side, falls on Richard who is holding the board and the kick is disallowed.
Shane is up next. He misses the front, but so close, only millimeters in it. (incidentally, only the Englander manages to hit the front kick out of all the teams)
Then the turning, which he nails beautifully.
Reverse follows and again, he kicks the board out of the holder across the floor, repeating Sam’s effort. The crowd roars again, even louder for the second board to be flung across the room. Shane lines up the midair and nails it! Wait, the kick is disallowed, not sure why, it looked fine to me. Finally the flying side. Get this Shane and it could be medals, although I have lost count and am not sure who is in the lead and by how much. Shane lines up, and jumps…Noooooo, he collects the string on the way and the kick is disallowed. The team all stand and applaud the NZ’s as they leave the floor. I don’t think they have anything to be ashamed for, they were fantastic and easily world class.
But I don’t know who has won, we will have to wait for the medal ceremony which is next.
While I was thinking to myself (literally, scary stuff) there haven’t been any injuries so far, one of the Hondurian competitors slips at the turning kick, falls against the holder and knocks himself out. He is down for a while and eventually stretchered off with a neck brace. The crowd applauds him out, hope he is ok.
Specialty came down to a tie breaker between Romania and England, with Romania triumphant.
The teams gather down on the floor for the medal ceremony from the first days competition.
Beck’s collects her medal.
She is beaming. The tape recorder playing the countries national anthems breaks down, so Master Bos gets the Canadians to sing, they do an ok job! Next is another Canadian gold, and the Canadians somehow get Guitar Man to sing it for them. Brilliant!
Next Argentina have to sing, but wait, they fix the tape machine…No! It plays some piano concerto! Then starts up again with what we think is the Argentine anthem, they start singing anyway. This is getting weird.
Kane collects his medal, what a great moment for him.
The tape machine starts again, this time for Argentina, but the team don’t sing! Confused, I sure am.
Suddenly the tape machine leaps to life by itself; Master Marano comes over and tells the guy off. I can’t see who it is as they are under the balcony where I am typing from, but I bet at the moment he is about as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Next are the specialty results, with the Romanian anthem up. One of the officials comes running over to tape machine guy, who is probably having a button pushing phobia right about now. But wait, he nails the Romanian anthem, the crowd goes wild.
Next are the NZ girls for their ‘so deserved’ team silver medal.
And below, Alex collects her medal, and she is on top of the world! And who can blame her.
It gets pretty emotional here, again to quote that exceptional crooner Meatloaf…’Not a dry eye in the house’, including mine…again. Canada are up for gold again in the female team event, they have done so well today. Guitar man again sings for them, you know, he’s pretty good and the crowd love him.
Ok, I have to say in all honesty, the medal ceremony was cool, even with tape machine guy getting it all wrong. Master Bos covered brilliantly and the whole crowd joined in, no one was bothered that the anthems didn’t come out as planned, in fact, it added to the day.
We had a brilliant day, 3 bronzes and a silver for the girls team. What a fantastic start to the tournament. On the way home the team sang all the way to the bus drivers amazing selection of music. We are all exhausted, but stir crazy happy.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.