12/06/2006

At last...pix from the 1st World Poomsae Championships

Here are the photos I took earlier this autumn of the 1st World Poomsae Championships, held in the Olympic gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea. Nothing dramatic, but you can get a feel for the event set-up.
By the end of the day, I was able to sneak unnoticed into the competition arena. I tried to shake hands and get photos of several prominent officials, and also a pic of Athens Olympic bronze medallist, Seong Myeong-Seob, who was competing in the 2nd Korean Open at the same venue as here. However, someone's head got in the way of Myeong-Seob, so the image quality is not worth posting.
Seems this competitor, winner of the female individual senior poomsae category - of course from Korea - knew as many of the judges as I knew during my test at the Kukkiwon. She has her own series of Poomsae-dance videos. Winning the gold medal is good PR for her video sales...
One of the medal ceremonies. As Korea got a clean sweep of ALL the gold medals, the Aeguka anthem was played about a zillion times. Not sure what pose the officials would have made had there been another country's anthem playing...
The seating around the stages was at a very steep angle, so it was hard to get a close up. Here you can see the competition arena set up (it remained the same for the 2nd Korea Open which started the following day.) Despite the large gym, the event had quite a small feel to it. The only spectators were the coaches and other competitors. Few members of the public came to watch even though it was a free, walk-in event.Here is the male group semi-final round. This is the Iran team. If you enlarge the image, you can see the enigmatic Iran coach. He is wearing a special all-white male hanbok for the event. If you performed on the center stage, the TV relayed a live picture of you on a large screen. It's perhaps from this stage that they captured the footage which has now been released on the WTF sanctioned DVD for this event. Even though I haven't watched the DVD, I don't think it would be worth watching unless you are training to be a judge for a Poomsae event. All the Poomsaes performed were really of good merit, it really came down to fractions when distinguishing between point scores. Watching would be like seeing a procession of dozens of Poomsae competitors, male, female, individual, pairs, groups, nearly all doing Koryo Poomsae.

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