A lot of planning had taken place with guardian/parents booking flights and accommodation, the many hours extra training, uniforms cleaned an ironed, club jackets ordered, passports renewed and funds collected for the nineteen excited team members of our Junior and Youth members who were able to travel this time.
Starting at 9:00 am running through to 7:00 pm, our teams and individuals led by our captains Darragh and Kevin, made their way through the early rounds finally carrying away an impressive haul of 15 Gold, 7 Silver and 9 Bronze medals and securing for the first time in our club's short history the coveted UK National Championship Team Trophy for DTA.
Every single member of our club contributed to our win today, and everybody without exception on the day, gave their best performance, impressing all judges and spectators, further cementing the growing reputation of DTA (Dublin Tomiki Aikido) as a highly competitive, disciplined and respected team at BAA Competitive events.
It's an exciting time for all players but we could never contemplate competing at these events without the full commitment and support of our dedicated parents and guardians willing to give up their time for preparation training, for travelling with and supporting of their young players. It's no small commitment and contributes enormously to the development of our club and all it's members enjoyment and progression.
A special mention again to Michał and Edyta Romański on this tour for being the official DTA photographers and providing us with some great memories from the day to look back on, and archive for the future.
This time five years ago we attended our first ever junior competition, the BAA UK Junior National Championships in 2014 with a team of only six junior players.
On the day we brought home three gold cups, two silver and two bronze medals.
A seed had been sown, and an ambitious goal identified to build a team that could compete and win the overall team trophy. Year on year since, the club has grown, we have developed, improved and worked hard towards this goal.
We managed to achieve it this year (at the BAA UK Junior National Championships 2019) with three of our original junior competitors still competing at the junior level. Needless to say, we are feeling accomplished and delighted.
Now the challenge is to retain the title next year.
In case it is not understood, these BAA events for children are entirely organised and run by unpaid volunteers who are largely taken for granted. The enthusiasm, support, genuine interest and passion by these volunteers set the stage for the players to enjoy a competitive experience at a very high standard.
No event can be expected to run without a few hiccups and errors can occur but the genuine ethos of fair-play, fun and putting players first, makes these events hugely worthwhile and important for clubs to attend. In the background, there is weeks and days of preparation and setup including the responsibility for delivery on the day. It's easy for players and coaches to arrive with the stage all set and mats down, but someone has had to pull it all together, coordinate referees and resolve issues on the day and still retain a sense of humour.