KEIGHLEY'S Leah Moorby received a best female fighter award as she won gold in the Red v Blue Open Championship in Dewsbury.
The World and European medallist won the accolade, chosen by the referees, after stepping up to a higher weight category (minus 59kg division) with aplomb.
Leah’s semi-final bout was against Megan Featherstone from Quest Taekwondo. The Quest player had the weight advantage and was a strong opponent, giving all the right ingredients for a good test for the British champion.
A good opening round saw Leah take the lead at 5-3, the second round saw the Quest player pull back points but Leah remained composed to finish the round 8-7 in front.
The final round was the best of the contest. Featherstone levelled the score at 8-8 and briefly went into the lead at 10-9. Both fighters exchanged a variety of shots but it was the Holy Family student who stepped up the pressure to produce two cracking headshots and eventually go through to the final with a 19-13 victory.
Leah’s opponent in the final was Ellie Foster, also from the Quest Taekwondo club, who found the British number one in top form. Leah's opening score was a headshot that paved the way for the rest of the contest as she took a 7-1 lead by the end of the first round. Solid body shots and another headshot gave Leah a 12-2 lead at the end of the second round.
The Quest fighter worked hard but could not match the Keighley girl, who produced further bodyshots and a headshot to take the gold medal at 19-4.
Coach Kathy Hook said: “Leah is having to move up to higher weight categories to get a good test when competing domestically, which makes her work harder and is good preparation for the big competitions in Europe. "She scored 38 points and only conceded 17, which is impressive at any level." Meanwhile, Silsden’s Jamie Simpson-Kidd, of Horizon Taekwondo, gave an eye-catching performance in the same event. The 11-year-old was up against Team Ultimate (Doncaster) member Owen Turner in what proved a gripping semi-final.
Turner will be representing Great Britain at the World Cadet Championship next month in the 12-14 years’ age group, but Jamie began the match brightly.
At 1-1 going into the second round, Jamie successfully landed a back kick to score two further points, and a further kick to the body made it 4-1.
Jamie conceded two points in fouls and conceded a kick to the body before the second round ended with Jamie leading 4-3.
In the final round Jamie conceded a kick to the head in an exchange of kicks and, despite never being ahead until the final ten seconds, World Championship selectee Owen won the match 7-5.
Jamie’s coach Rick Simpson said: “Jamie played a top-quality opponent and looked in charge for the whole match.
“They had an exchange of kicks towards the final ten to 15 seconds and the other kid came out on top. Heart-breaking for Jamie but that’s why we went – to fight quality opponents."
“Nobody had easy wins, which is good for the team as they learn more when they are losing and when winning but not so easily.”
Horizon Taekwondo Academy, which has clubs in Silsden and Keighley among other places, finished an impressive fifth out of 33 teams from around the UK, Ireland and Belgium, picking up four golds, three silvers and three bronzes.
One of the golds went to Simpson-Kidd’s fellow Great Britain development team member Ellie Bowden, 13, from Cullingworth.
Ellie defeated Megan Goulding from Black Widow Taekwondo (Normanton) after her opponent was disqualified for conceding five full-warning penalties.