Northern Taekwon-do Academy athletes come home victorious

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The Northern Taekwon-do Academy based in Sun Peaks is celebrating major athlete success from the Vernon Friendship Tournament held from Jan. 20 to 21. Each of the academy’s competitors in the event came home with a medal. For some it was their first time competing in the sport.

“A couple of them had their first time at a tournament, they came home with gold medals. So I was really proud of them for that,” said chief instructor Ryan Oevermann.

Heading into the competition the first timers were nervous.

“You can verbally prepare someone for a competition, but until you’re actually in the moment you don’t really know what it’s like,” said Oevermann.“I tell them nervous is normal. You’re supposed to feel nervous it’s not a bad thing, just means your body’s getting ready for something.”

For Kaden MacGowan, the Friendship Tournament was his first time competing. The white belt athlete brought home double gold, meaning he won the competition for patterns and sparring.

Blake Morris received a gold medal in pattern and bronze in sparring, while Olivia Dye received  gold in pattern and Landon Oevermann came home with a bronze in sparring.

The weekend saw big success for Robin Kierstead who has been training in the academy for just over a year. She came home with a gold in sparring, silver in patterns and silver in the Chonji challenge, which is the first pattern Taekwon-do athletes learn.

“We narrowed down the senior champion and we narrowed down the junior champion, Robin was the junior champion. So she got to go against the senior champion which was a third-degree black belt from Vernon,” explained Oevermann.“Robin’s competitive and she’s a go-getter so she rose to the challenge very well.”

Heading into the weekend Oevermann said he wasn’t going in with too many expectations, but was just proud of his athletes for being there.

The Sun Peaks athletes will now focus on making progress in their skills until the next competition in May.