The North American and Caribbean International Taekwondo Championships took place on Nov 7-8 and seven local competitors brought home various medals after the tournament in Vancouver.
Vera Poole, head coach, accompanied her team to the Championships. “I’ve coached most of them for about 3 yrs,” Poole Said. “I’ve loved working with this group. They work hard and take instruction very well.”
Poole, owner of “Energy Connection Health and Fitness Ltd.”, in Fort St. James has trained for 11 years and has been teaching for seven. Her official title is assistant instructor and she is 2nd dan black belt.
She has competed in many tournaments herself but this time, it was all about her team, to help them accomplish their personal goals that they have worked so hard to achieve.
Taekwondo is a martial art with heavy emphasis on kicks and relies strictly on the use of hands and feet.
“Taekwondo is also about discipline and empowerment. It’s about belonging to a family no matter who you are,” Poole said.
Poole is thrilled to share her passion for this sport and was excited to accompany her team to the tournament held at the Richmond Speed Skating Oval in Vancouver.
“The complex was phenomenal,” Poole said. “There were three full gymnasiums there dedicated to the tournament.”
Over 400 competitors participated from Jamaica, Trinidad, U.S.A. and Canadians from all across the country.
Colour belts competed all day on the 7th and black belts competed on the 8th.
For Poole, there was one obvious challenge. “It was the first time my students competed with electronic score boards. These can be a little distracting. It helps you know how you are doing as you perform but it can also distract you if you focus on it too often. This is something we will just have to adjust to,” Poole said.
Those who competed were: Logan McKersie (yellow belt) who brought home two silver medals in patterns and sparring, Cassidy MacDougall (green belt, blue stripe) received a sliver in sparring, Samuel Trebula (green belt, blue stripe) received a bronze in sparring, Nikolai Ledgebokoff won two medals, a silver in sparring and a silver in patterns, Cela West (green belt, blue stripe) won a gold in sparring, Fred McKersie (green belt, blue stripe) received two silver medals in sparring and patterns and Tom Patterson, (red belt) ended up with a bronze in sparring.
“We have an incredible group who bring positive reaction nationally,” Poole said.
But for the head coach, it does not necessarily end here. “All these tournaments allow you to gain experience and maybe even the opportunity to join the national team one day and compete internationally.”