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Hard work ... The Whitestone Taekwondo Club is working hard to prepare for the first major taekwondo tournament to be held in Oamaru in eight years. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

For the first time in eight years, the Whitestone Taekwondo Club will be hosting a national tournament.

Instructors Bernie Miller, Darryl Johnston, Vanessa Gough and Jeff Spillane are the main organisers of the event, which will be held at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre on May 5.

“We thought we were ready to host a tournament,” Miller said.

After sending some invitations out to clubs across the country, Johnston was surprised and “overwhelmed” at the amount of clubs wanting to participate in the event.

Representatives of at least six different taekwondo clubs, including clubs from the North Island, will be competing in Oamaru.

The last tournament hosted by the club was in 2010.

Organisers are keen to get parents and volunteers involved to run the event.

The venue was expected to get “very crowded”, Miller said. About 200 competitors are expected to turn up for the event, although it is likely more will turn up on the day.

“It’s going to be a good tournament,” Miller said.

The tournament would start at 7am and wrap up about 7pm.

“Everyone just comes in and it’s like everyone is family.”

The Oamaru-based club is training its own students to prepare them for the tournament.

Taekwondo was a relatively low-profile sport in Oamaru, Johnston said.

It was likely people in the community knew little about the club, but it was always keen to welcome new members.

The organisers are grateful for the support of the recreational centre.

“Without them, it wouldn’t happen,” Miller said.

If this year’s event went well, the club would consider planning another tournament next year.