May 29, 2008


Thirty six international teams made up of four men and one woman vying for the most prestigious team title in the world today. Team events bring about a special passion and responsibility to fighters, it seems to electrify the stadium once it starts as it is no longer just about you on the mat you have a responsibility and duty to support your fellow team mate and in most cases your country to do what is best for the team, it is a wonderful event full of passion and complete commitment.

Semi Final one saw, SAP Europe once again in the semi finals and up against team best fighter (top Ten) from Italy, amazing athletes on both sides with tantalizing match ups, Zolt Moradi v Gregorio Di Leo, Mortel Spissoy and Adriano Passaro, Kristian Barr v Nickos Memos, after the initial three fights it was two wins to Team Sap Europe and one draw to Best fighter team, resulting in a decisive win for SAP Europe. This was the fifth year in a row Team SAP Europe have reached the finals.

Semi Final two was Team SAP USA v Team Top Ten UK. Again a very tantalizing match up with some amazing talent on both sides, however on this occasion, the Americans proved way to strong for Top Ten UK, team.

So for the fourth year in a row we had Sap Europe v SAP Team All Stars in the Irish Open final. Europe was hoping this was to be the year, having narrowly missed by one or two points over the last four years.

First fight up was Krisztian Jaroszkievicz v Robbie Lavaouy, suprisingley The US fighter proved too strong on this occasion. Nioks Memos v Jack Felton was as always entertaining however again Memos had the measure of Felton and took a win over to Europe making it one each. The surprise of the final was Zolt Moradi v Jason Tankson, Moradi clearly taking out the game Tankson in the grand champion eliminations and clear favourite going in to this fight, however this was not to be the case with Tankson upping his game and dominating from the start and taking another win to USA . Europe needed a win to bring it to a fight off between the two ladies on the tam which significantly favoured SAP Europe with Sofia Minda. It was the amazing Raymond Danniels v Andreas Angelopoulos from Greece , again Danniels was on form showing dominance from the start and taking home the win and ultimate team champions prize for the fifth year in a row.

Europe continue to close the gap between the European fighters and USA, however one has to give credit where credit is due and again the Americans took home the prize money. Hopefully next year this will change.

The dates for the 2009 Irish Open have been agreed. March 13-14-15 th , so put it your diary now. A new schedule has also been agreed. Friday evening team Event, Saturday ALL male black belt divisions, light contact divisions and female grand champion. Sunday male grand champion and all other divisions, this will give a better spread amongst the fighters over the three days of world class competitions.

Roy Baker

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