Tauranga's Kara Timmer has struck gold on the opening day of the ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships in Jesolo, Italy.
Timmer, and fellow Tauranga athlete Maddison Black, were among a flurry of Kiwi medals as New Zealand became the leading nation early on.
Tauranga's Kara Timmer (left). Photo: Facebook.
The results from the senior and junior teams are placed together to decide the top nations on the medal table, and on completion of day one, NZ are sitting pretty with five gold, two silver and six bronze medals, placing them well ahead of Ireland, Canada, Norway and Poland.
The medal table, however, isn't expected to stay that way, with traditional strong nations Argentina, Germany and Russia certain to come through and challenge the Kiwis as the world championships progress.
One of the best events for NZ was the female power competition, with Timmer winning gold ahead her Polish competitor and fellow Kiwi Courtney Weir (Papakura) finishing third.
Also taking out gold were Mangere's Daniell McMillan in the first dan senior male patterns, along with Wesley Filiki from the Pilsung club in Wellington in the senior male patterns. Palmerston North's Dane Canton won the third dan male patterns gold.
Frances Lloyd - the youngest team member at 15 years-old from the Te Puna Club in Tauranga - won gold in the junior specialty event.
Meanwhile Manurewa athlete Melissa Timperley missed out on gold in one of her favoured events, but says there was nothing more she could do as she finished with silver in the women's third dan patterns after drawing two rounds in the final and losing by one judge in the decider.
'I think we always aim for that top spot,” says Melissa, who was beaten in the final by Norway's Marielle Lind.
'Gold was always the aim and to make it to the final for the second world champs in a row is a great achievement in my eyes.
'I couldn't have done my patterns any differently and it was definitely a very close match. It just wasn't in my favour today.”
A silver medal was also won by Vinu Vijaykumaran from Whangaparoa in the junior male specialty.
Bronze medals were won by Phillipa Henry from the Legacy Club in Auckland for the Senior Dan Patterns. While Auckland juniors Damon Williams and Aidan Cambpell won medals in the junior male sparring and junior male specialty respectively.
Tauranga's Maddison Black claimed bronze in the junior female specialty and Palmerston North's Rose Biddiscombe in the junior female specialty all added bronze medals to their team's total.
More than 50 countries are taking part in the tournament, with Argentina, Canada, Italy, Norway, Russia, United States and NZ all having 50 or more junior and senior athletes competing. The tournament continues until Sunday.
There are four core events: patterns, sparring, power test and special technique.
Within each of these events, there are both individual and team categories. The categories are further split into junior (under-18) and senior (over-18) classifications, and there are separate male and female divisions.
In the case of individual patterns, competitors are further classified by black belt rank, and individual sparring is split into six weight divisions. In addition to the four core events, there is also pre-arranged sparring, which is a pairs competition that has only junior and senior classifications
New Zealand finished second at the 2009 World Champs in Argentina, before winning the tournament in Wellington in 2011 and finishing third in Spain two years later.