November 13, 2000

Taekwondo Wins

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Powerful snap kicks and loud shrieks screeched through the air at the 13th Annual Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo Invitational winning Cornell the Invitational championship.

The Invitational was hosted by Cornell’s Sport Tae Kwon Do Club, at Barton Hall on Saturday. Sport Tae Kwon Do is a student organization that was formed out of the Tae Kwon Do program recognized by the University’s Physical Education (PE).

The program is devoted to “enhancing the martial art experience through competition,” according to PE department literature.

Ten northeastern universities participated in the annual Tae Kwon Do forum, including many Ivy League schools.

Despite formidable opposition, however, Cornell emerged with first and second place titles in both the men’s and women’s divisions, ultimately taking home the championship title.

“Overall, Cornell got first place in the tournament with around 261 points. Harvard followed with second place and 131 points. The University of Pennsylvania placed third with 117 points,” said Bill Pottle ’01, tournament coordinator and president of Sport Tae Kwon Do at Cornell.

“The Invitational ran smoothly. Even though it was a lot longer than expected, it was nevertheless well run,” said competitor Rob Paderfosky ’02. “I started Tae Kwon Do here at Cornell when I was a freshman. It fit my schedule and seemed interesting. Ever since, it’s been really nice. The organization has definitely evolved from a club to a community of people.”

“Whenever there’s a big tournament there’s always a lot of great competition. Despite little hold ups, the tournament was a success. Our rings were always occupied and we ran things to full capacity,” Pottle said. “As we solidify our rules and increase our membership, we make real progress towards the eventual goal of making Tae Kwon Do a recognized NCAA sport,” he said.

Some of the participants, however, complained that the Tae Kwon Do judging of the forms competition was biased toward certain schools.

“We should have won the forms competitions,” said competitor Harry Cho ’02. “Cornell just doesn’t lose like that. Something was definitely shady. It was extremely clear that we should have easily won first in all the forms competitions.”

Cho and other team members, as well as competitors from other schools, expressed skepticism about the scoring of acting judge Mark Lesley, a coach from New York University.

Lesley explained that it is tough to get unaffiliated judges. “There’s a lack of volunteers so coaches and sponsors have to act as judges,” he said. “There is an excellent level of quality at this Invitational. The judging is fair. You could just as easily argue that Cornell has been biased in the past. Every time we come here we always see Cornell-oriented scoring.”

“There were some minor complaints regarding judging, but I analyzed all the scorecards and there was no outright cheating,” Pottle said.

Overall, despite this discrepancy, participants found the Invitational to be a success.

“This was a great tournament. The support was huge and the turnover was incredible. I enjoyed it a lot,” said Michael Salvi, a member of Temple University’s team.

“A lot of underclassmen stepped up in this tournament. We were all very proud, as this is good for our future,” Pottle said.

Archived article by Sai Pidatala