Athletes from Sun Peaks’ Northern Taekwon-Do Academy competed in the provincial championships in Burnaby on March 4 and brought home medals from gold to bronze.
In the first provincial championship since COVID-19, over 200 athletes throughout the province competed at Alpha Secondary school. Tristan Stokon, age ten, earned silver in sparring and bronze in pattern, 12-year-old Ava Dye took home gold in sparring and coach Ryan Oevermann won bronze in pattern.
Oevermann, the academy’s chief instructor, said while he offered encouragement before the competition, preparation is the key to success.
“[Performing well is about] practice beforehand. When [students] go into competition under stress, the brain shuts off. But the body will do what it’s trained to do,” Oevermann told SPIN.
Oevermann is a fifth-degree black belt who started in the sport in 1989. In 2019, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements, including shaking, a lack of balance and stiffness.
He said his legacy is to pass on his teaching to a new generation of kids and competing with his diagnosis is “a new adventure.”
“This is a new adventure for me, to compete with Parkinson’s. To place [bronze] was quite exciting,” Oevermann said.
Athletes at the gym have belt testing on March 16 and will spend the next two months preparing for the Canadian national Taekwon-Do championships in Vernon at the Kal Tire Centre.
Oevermann said he and other athletes from the Academy will prepare for the national-level competition by resuming training twice a week for one-hour sessions and adding in extra training as needed before the event.
Northern Taekwon-Do Academy trains athletes from recreational to competitive levels and is open to youth and adults. All athletic abilities are welcome.
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