Joel Ridley a Leader in Promoting Cdn University TKD!

OCdt Nalae Yang II kicking her opponent from Trent

Bill Oliver recently met up with Joel Ridley, Head Coach of the RMC varsity Taekwondo team to talk a little TKD.

Q. RMC hosted a Taekwondo competition last weekend. Student-athletes from U of T, Ryerson,  Queens and Trent were all seen competing. What was the occasion?

A. For the third straight year RMC has hosted the Ontario University Taekwondo Competition League (OUTCL) championship.

Q. I recall just a few years ago, RMC athletes would travel to the USA to compete in the Ivy Northeast Collegiate Taekwondo League (INCTL). Do you still compete in the INCTL?

A. The RMC Taekwondo team had previously had a membership in the 29 team INCTL Taekwondo league competing with the Ivy League schools located in north western United States. RMC was quite successful competing against the storied institutions such as MIT, Cambridge and Harvard.

Q. You say, “… had previously had a membership…” Why not now?

A. In my first year as coach of the RMC Varsity program, the ’06-’07 season, we took the thirteen hour return trip to MIT to compete in this league. RMC won on the day and we were quite proud of ourselves but I felt that the benefit of the trip did not justify the cost. The level of competition was much lower than what we are used to competing at Provincial and National team trials and the financial costs of the trip was double that of going to a competition here at home.

I had the brainstorm that we should develop a similar league here in Ontario where RMC can than compete with their peers at other universities in the province and eventually hope for the opportunity to apply for inclusion to the OUA.

So I began the process of contacting all the University Taekwondo programs across the province to begin competing in the ’06-’07season.
Q. What is the goal of the OUTCL?

A. We set a four year goal to build a competitive, stable league able to apply for OUA members in four years, for the 2011-12 season.

Q. How did the first year turn out? How many schools competed?

A. Our first competition was in April 2007 which had competing teams from RMC, University of Toronto, Queens and Trent. RMC team dominated the competition and came away with the overall trophy, followed by UofT, Queens and Trent in the standings.

Q. How about Year II? Did other schools join in?

A. In the second year of the league we again hosted the finals here at RMC in April of 2008. The league had grown by two teams and we now had competitors from the original four schools with Waterloo and York fielding teams as well. The York team was especially competitive at this competition as they had three national team members on their team. Nevertheless, RMC came away with the overall win again but only by the slimmest of margins.

Q. Last weekend was the Year III. How did it go for RMC?

A. The RMC team, devastated by recent injuries, was only able to field a competitive team of 2 men and 2 ladies, one-third of our full team. On the men’s squad were Nirmalan Jeganathan IV and Suhan Kwon II and the ladies had Vanessa Larochelle Meilleur III teamed up with Nalae Yang II. This alone put us at a huge disadvantage against our opponents as the winners are determined by combined points from match play where each team has three members. The RMC teams would go into each match down by one loss as they only had two members on each team. The men’s team had a great run until team captain, Jeganathan, reaggravated a groin injury and could not continue competing. The men’s team came away with one bronze and one silver for their efforts on the day.

OCdt Suhan Kwon II against University of Toronto

The women’s team, with OCdt Larochelle Meilleur coming off her national team
qualifier gold medal performance, was dominant. Vanessa defeated her first opponent 7-0 winning her match by the “seven point mercy rule” within the first 45 seconds of the first round. Her team-mate Nalae Yang followed that up with two great wins and the team came away with two gold medals on the day.

Q. How did the team standings end up?

A. Even with only fielding one-third of a full team for the competition the RMC team came away with second place overall, losing by a small margin to a very large and competitive team from the University of Toronto. The final standings on the day were:

1. Uof T – 1st place (345 pts),
2. RMC – 2nd place (315 pts),
3. Ryerson – 3rd place (175 pts),
4. Queens – 4th place (125 pts),
5. Trent – 5th place (85 pts).

Q. How does the future shape up for the OUTCL?

A. The OUTCL will be having another school joining for the 2009-10 season in the University of Western Ontario with York and Waterloo planning on returning as well. The goal over the next two years is to stabilize and strengthen the school membership of the league and have more consistent participation from each institution.