ASP Taekwondo students Jessica Borg, Xelinne Ryan-Andrews, Jeremy O’Conner, Majella Owens, Maddison Rejtano, Kailen Berthelsen and Xander, Carla and Arne Huysamen, will all be competing in the Australian Open titles this weekend in Canberra.
ASP Taekwondo students Jessica Borg, Xelinne Ryan-Andrews, Jeremy O’Conner, Majella Owens, Maddison Rejtano, Kailen Berthelsen and Xander, Carla and Arne Huysamen, will all be competing in the Australian Open titles this weekend in Canberra. Scottie Simmonds

Tim's nine belt up for fight

ARNE Huysamen will be chasing his second straight gold medal at the annual Taekwondo Australia National Championships when he heads to Canberra today for the 2010 titles.

The “super-dad” was the Bundaberg ASP Taekwondo Academy’s sole gold medal winner 12 months ago, but it will be tougher for him this time as he has been promoted from blue belt to red.

However coach Tim Annett, who has been with the academy for 13 years and took the reins after the sudden and tragic death of club founder, inspirational coach and national icon of the sport Mario Rejtano in May last year, “is pretty confident the team will do pretty well this time”.

Annett won a swag of state and national medals during a distinguished career as a competitor, but now he is enjoying another challenge and putting back into the sport which he loves and was so good to him.

“The preparation was not very good last year – the club was in a bit of disarray after Mario’s passing and we were lucky just to be there, but this year will be a lot different obviously,” Annett said.

“I’m not game to say how many medals we should or we expect to get, but we’ve got some good players and I’m sure they will do Bundaberg proud.”

The ASP Academy has won many medals at the nationals over the years, one of its finest products is current Australian Open Women’s representative Lauren Thom, and the stage could be set for a return to its glory days, despite having three debutants among their nine-person team.

“We have a couple of first timers in Majella Owens, who is senior yellow belt, Jeremy O’Conner who is junior blue belt, and Carla Huysamen, Arne’s daughter who is senior blue belt,” Annett said.

“We also have two doing black belt for the first time which is a big step up, Jessica Borg and Xander (Huysamen) who is Arne’s son.

“But everyone has prepared well and they are also determined to bring home a big medal haul as another tribute to Mario.”

Kailen Berthelsen, Xelinne “Sunshine” Ryan-Andrews and Rejtano’s daughter Maddison complete their group of medal aspirants.

Maddison has been mixing it with the best at top level from a young age.

The championships will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from today through to Sunday, with over 1700 competitors to battle it out in poomsae and full contact sparring.

Bundaberg team members will have a day to settle in before they step on to the competition mats on Saturday and Sunday.

The students will also experience self defence and combat conditioning by the Australian Defence Force Academy.



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