JOB TITLE: OPERATIONS...
The 2017 World Taekwondo Championships has come to an end on June 30th. Korea, Turkey, and Serbia finished top three in the medal standings.
Team Canada is made up of eight female and eight male athletes from Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick. Yvette Yong (F-46kg), Anas Sghir (M-54kg), Hervan Nkogho Mengue (M-68kg), Skylar Park (F-57kg), Nathalie Iliesco (F-73kg) made it to the round of 16 match. The only quarterfinal finish belongs to Melissa Pagnotta, Canada’s lone taekwondo competitor at 2016 Rio Olympics, who finished 5th at the F-67kg division. She narrowly missed the semifinals to Paige McPherson, who later claimed a silver medal in this weight division.
“Although this is my fourth World Championships, it never gets easy,” said Melissa Pagnotta, “This tournament is my best Worlds result. Paige McPherson and I have fought numerous times in Pan Am region at the US Open and most Open tournaments, we normally go back and forth.”
“I felt a lot better in the ring and I was able to see a lot more than I used to see before. I am able to read my opponent better,” said Melissa Pagnotta, “Each competition you go to, the experience is always different. I am not happy with the result, but I know I can still grow as an athlete.”
“For up-and-coming athletes who want to do taekwondo, what I lived by was you set a goal, you achieve it regardless how or where your journey takes you. As long as you have that one journey, you will be able to reach that goal no matter how long it takes you.”
For many young athletes in the team, this is their first World Championships experience. The youngest athlete in the team, Nicolas Migneault, has competed in the Junior World Taekwondo Championships last year in Burnaby. The senior event is a very different experience for him. He lost to Mohamed Farag of Egypt in the preliminary round.
“I need to try to change my taekwondo style because, with the new rules, the game changed completely. We need more than one weapon – for me, it would be more turning kicks, punch and pushing,” said Nicolas Migneault, “We all come here with a goal, even if we don’t win, we have the opportunity to see where we are compare to other countries. We are still winning something.”
“My goal for the future is being in the next World Championships and do better than this time.”
Although the results might be tough to digest for a while, Team Canada coaches still believe that the team has the talent who can perform better in the future events. The coaches hope our Team Canada athlete can take this tournament as a learning experience to move forward.
“We had high expectations at this world championships because many of our athletes are seeded within the top ten in their own weight division. We definitely expected medals and we came very close to some of the divisions,” said Coach Sungmin Son, “We are still far from the best in the world, so there are a lot of things that we do have to change when we get back. We have great talents and great coaches to make it happen in the future.”
Taekwondo Canada, the national governing body of the sport, is looking for a new breakthrough after the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships.
“The results are less than what we wanted, so we are sure we need to take a new approach with a different strategy than we’ve taken with high performance before,” said Darlene MacDonald - Taekwondo Canada Executive Director, “Going up into the next World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics, we need to be responsible for helping the targeted athletes to take the new approach and give them more support outside the major events. In the meantime, we are trying to build up a high performance program that takes a more holistic approach, that the athletes will get funding and support in a different way that they have in the past.”
Team Canada athletes and final results:
Under 54kg - Anas Sghir
Under 58kg - Nicolas Migneault
Under 63kg - Siddhartha King Bhat
Under 68kg - Hervan Nkogho Mengue
Under 74kg - Andrew Park
Under 80kg - Maxime Potvin
Under 87kg - Jordan Stewart
Over 87kg - Marc Andre Bergeron
Under 46kg - Yvette Yong
Under 49kg - Camille Dallaire-Leblanc
Under 53kg - Andrea Jerom
Under 57kg - Skylar Park
Under 62kg - Ashley Kraayeveld
Under 67kg - Melissa Pagnotta
Under 73kg - Nathalie Iliesco
Over 73kg - Emmanuelle Boudreau
Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) provides financial assistance to Canadian high-performance athletes to improve Canadian performances at major international sporting events. Taekwondo...
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