Kids score big in national Taekwon-Do championships

Due to COVID-19, the students competed virtually in the national competition.
Jackson Atkinson, 11 years old at the time, is a member of the Northern Taekwon-Do Academy – Sun Peaks. Photo submitted by Ryan Oevermann.

Several Sun Peaks students showcased their techniques at the Canadian Taekwon-Do Federation International (CTFI) Canadian National Taekwon-Do Championships from April 14 to 23, with some scoring bronze, silver and gold medals.

Ryan Oevermann, who runs the Northern Taekwon-Do Academy – Sun Peaks, said things looked a lot different this year for his students due to COVID-19.

“Naturally, there’s less travelling involved. Usually there’s an airplane flight, long distance travel, a hotel that sort of thing,” Oevermann said.  

Oevermann said it was less costly to participate this year because of the travel restrictions, with only a $20 entry fee per student. There were 14 local students between the ages of seven and 16 who participated in the championship and tested their martial arts skills. They virtually faced off with other students from across Canada. 

Due to the pandemic, the students filmed themselves demonstrating Taekwon-Do techniques, but there was no hand-to-hand sparring. Oevermann said he believes his students placed well because of their devotion to honing their skills.

“I always tell them practice is the mother of all skills and practice makes permanent. You’ve got to practice correctly, and often,” Oevermann said.

Mathew Zandstra was awarded a gold medal for showcasing his techniques among the male pre-junior yellow belt division, and Maguire Ross-Shanko bagged a silver while competing against other male cadet white belts.

Chase Melnyk scored a bronze for competing in the male bantam blue belt division. Ellis Pypker and Gabriel Pypker both brought home bronze after competing in the male bantam white belt division, while Thomas Schwanke nabbed a bronze medal for his performance in the male atom white belt division.

“I’m naturally very proud of the participants, proud of how they came out, how they placed and how they performed. We’re looking forward to the next competition being in the fall,” Oevermann said.

Oevermann said he hopes students will be able to compete face-to-face by the fall regional competition.

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