ECLIPSE Taekwondo head instructor, Dale Bryce, has stepped into a new role in the sport of taekwondo.
Bryce led the Australian taekwondo team to the US Open in Las Vegas, held from February 15 to 23 as the team manager.
Australia brought home three gold, two silver and 10 bronze medals against 4000 black belt competitors from 80 countries.
This was the first time Bryce had managed the team, which included 70 athletes from juniors to masters age groups.
Bryce said the Australian competitors ranged from a development team to an A squad and was the second biggest contingent of athletes behind the US.
Although officially retired from competition, Bryce brought home a bronze from a team event.
One of his students, Falls Creek’s Daniel Smith also scored bronze in the team poomsae event.
Smith, 16, has been doing taekwondo for nine years and works under Bryce as an instructor at Eclipse Taekwondo.
“It was definitely the biggest tournament I have been to so far. But it was awesome and the standard was so high,” said Smith.
Smith and two other Australians from South Australia and Melbourne had just two days to pull together their routine for the 15 to 17 black belt male division.
“But we got it done. It was a big surprise and really good to bring home the bronze,” said Smith.
As team manager, Bryce had to organise the team schedule, as well as registrations, flights, and make sure each competitor was in the right division.
He joined seven coaching staff, as well as the CEO and president of Taekwondo Australia.
“It was definitely a challenge in the lead-up to the event, but it was great to be involved with a higher level within the sport,” said Bryce.
“I have a fairly big role with Taekwondo Australia now which is good. And the president and CEO seemed happy with how it all went so I would definitely like to continue with that role.”
The event saw 36 Olympians competing, with 97 entries in the open division.
“It is such a big event. It was good to see how the US do it, with all the bells and whistles. It was pretty spectacular,” said Bryce.
“To bring home two bronze medals to Nowra was awesome, but the Australian team did really well too.”
The US Open is an Olympic benchmark event, meaning the points earned at the tournament goes towards Olympic qualifying points.
Bryce will bring his organisational skills to the Shoalhaven next week as the second South Coast Open Taekwondo Championships is held on Sunday, March 10.
Last year over 200 competitors and their families flocked to the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre for the event.
Special pressure-sensitive electronic chest guards worth $8000 each were a major drawcard, as this was the first time they were used in a competition outside state and national events.
Another bonus was the colourful medals, which were designed similarly to the international medals.
To be held again at the entertainment centre, Bryce said the championships will be bigger and better than last year.
“We have about 40 people coming from Victoria and a fair few who have represented Australia. So it is going to be really good, with some really top-class fighters,” he said.
Taekwondo events to be held are poomsae individual, team poomsae, sparring, individual and team creative and artistic XMS style board breaking.
Doors open from 7am Sunday morning, with the official opening ceremony at 8.15am. Events will run until 5pm.
There is still time to enter the event, with entries closing at midnight tonight. Visit www.eclipsetkd.com.au to enter.
Spectators are welcome on the day at $10 for individuals, and $30 for families.
For more information on this event, contact Kathleen Barwick on 0404043374, Dale Bryce on 0418488016, or email email@example.com