Taekwondo club excels at championships

Taekwondo Pic Ryan OevermannThe Sun Peaks Taekwondo club may have returned from the Western Canadian Championships with a few bumps and bruises, but they also picked up their fair share of awards.

The 11 person contingent of Sun Peaks martial artists picked up 19 medals, including first place finishes in multiple categories at the championship event in Kelowna on Saturday, April 11. The event attracted more than 360 competitors from across Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C.

Instructor Ryan Oevermann was impressed by their efforts: “I’m very proud. It’s really representative of the school and the quality of the students that we have.”

Lori McLean and Brent Romyn were standout performers, receiving gold medals in both sparring and pattern work.

“They were training probably two or three days a week outside of our regular classes. They worked hard and they earned it,” Oevermann said.

Several first time competitors also impressed: Olivia Dye, Brent Romyn, Anand Kelkar and Ryder Mckenzie-White all returned from their first tournament with medals. Oevermann’s son, Landon, also did the family name proud, picking up his first gold medal.

“Every participating student was a success,” Oevermann said. “I came away a very proud father and instructor.”

Oevermann said the class trained differently in the lead-up to the event.

“We started by identifying the students who wished to compete. Not everyone wants to compete, some people just like to train and to learn, but some also choose to perform competitively.”

Oevermann said while in-class sparring partners would usually work together, exchanging techniques, in the lead-up for the tournament they were encouraged to spar more competitively.

“We trained to go after the points and keep going after the points,” he said.

In taekwondo sparring, one point is awarded for each hand strike, two points for a kick to the body, and three points for a kick to the head. All sparring is front-on and above the waist, and will usually take place for 90 seconds to two minutes, depending on the competitor’s age and rank.

Oevermann said the group would now work towards the North American and Caribbean Championships, which will be held in Vancouver in November, and he expects many of his students will be keen to attend.

“Tournaments always get people motivated; either to do better, or because they are encouraged that what they are doing is correct.”