Blue Mountains Taekwondo championships returns to ballroom

For 27 years, Haktari Taekwondo has been hosting the Blue Mountains Taekwondo Championships. 

The annual event will be on again this Sunday, May 20, with representatives of clubs around the region competing at the Civic Ballroom in Lithgow.  

The Lithgow team has been hard at work training for the all-day event. 

Head instructor at Haktari Taekwondo Academy and tournament director for the Blue Mountains championships Jeff Crane said the club was one of only a handful in Australia to have automatic scoring technology. It was the only one in the Central West. 

“Automatic scoring is really the best system, it's the system that is used at the world championships,” he said. 

“It’s simple, you score and the score is recorded on the screen.”

The devices, implanted into the head gear and vests of each competitor, flash when a point is registered. 

Crane said the technology removes the human element from the judging of the competition. 

“The settings are adjusted to suit [a competitor’s] age and weight and then it measures the pressure of a punch or kick,” he said. 

“It’s not something that someone has to approve. And it is very accurate.”

The club has had the automatic scoring system for two years and it was used at the last competition, for which almost 200 competitors registered. 

Several highly esteemed fighters have fought in the Blue Mountains championships throughout its history, including Rio Olympians Safwan Khalil and Hayder Shkara. 

Competitors in the 2018 event will include representatives of clubs from Sydney, the South Coast and Canberra. 

Lithgow’s own club will be well represented, with a team of between 10-12 competitors hard at work in preparation for the event. 

The event is open to the public, with tickets available at $10 for adults and $5 for children. It will run from 9am to 4pm, across multiple stages. 

Crane urged people to come along and view the competition, which represented the only opportunity for Lithgow Taekwondo students to compete locally. 

He thanked the Lithgow Workmen’s Club, which is the major sponsor for the event, and Lithgow City Council, for allowing the club to hire the ballroom at a reduced rate. 

This year, the event canteen will be run by Can Assist. Businesses have generously donated goods to the canteen to allow the proceeds to go to the charity, which supports cancer patients within the Lithgow region.