Four minutes was all it took for a University of Otago student to claim gold at an international taekwondo competition.
Katherine Lockton (23) won a gold medal at the seventh ITF Taekwon-Do World Cup in Sydney on September 27.
Each spar was a two-minute round and the win was based on points.
“It’s a lot of energy in two minutes,” Lockton said.
Her first spar was against an athlete from Germany and her second, and final, was against a fellow New Zealander.
“I think my second fight was actually better because I think I was more nervous for my first fight, especially because my second did not turn up.”
A second is a coach or support person.
Lockton, a member of the university’s taekwondo club, said waiting for the spar was the worst part of the day, but once she was in the ring, her nerves subsided.
Her instructor, Dean Jenkins, who was watching from home, said the competition was “full on”.
Usually there are multiple rounds and the chance to get advice from a support person/coach in between.
“It’s a very tough type of system. You don’t have anyone talking to you.
“It’s all on.”
Jenkins said Lockton looked fit in the ring and was “bouncing around”.
Normally when people got tired, they stopped moving their feet, he said.
Before the event, he had given her notes with advice on competing against people of a different height from her.
Smaller people tended to “charge straight at you”.
“It’s all about intimidation, trying to force you back.”
In preparation for the competition, Lockton competed in 12 consecutive one-minute rounds against 12 different people. The athletes were of all different abilities and sizes.
The exercise was aimed at building stamina and by the eighth or ninth round, she was sparring more naturally, he said.
“The girls are tactical, they think. The guys come in and they want to beat the snot out of each other.
“Girls learn how to punch, how to kick.”
Lockton’s gold medal backed up her performance at the New Zealand championships, where she won two gold medals and was named the best overall blue belt.
The ITF competition lasted five days and the New Zealand team got 61 gold medals.