Canadian Taekwondo Athletes Optimistic at Midway Point of 2020 Olympic Quadrennial
FUJAIRAH, UAE—Despite the fact none of the four Canadian taekwondo athletes who squared off at the Grand Prix Final in Fujairah, UAE on Thursday were able to advance past their opening round match, Taekwondo Canada is optimistic a bright future is ahead on the road to Tokyo 2020.
Three of Canada’s top women and one male hit the matt for the final event of the season.
Toronto’s Yvette Yong was taken out by Kyriaki Kouttouki, of the Cyprus National Team in the women’s 49kg class. Yong, who was ranked sixth after making it to the quarter-finals at the Grand Prix in Taoyan, was topped 13-7 on Thursday.
Two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist, Skylar Park, was also ranked sixth in the women’s 57kg division. The 19-year-old Winnipegger dropped an 18-14 decision to China’s Lijun Zhou.
Olympian Melissa Pagnotta bowed out to Croatia’s Matea Jelic in the women’s 67kg class, while the lone Canadian male in the field – Marc-Andre Bergeron – had his hands full with the number-two ranked Kyo-don In in the men’s +80kg class. The Quebec City resident lost a 4-0 decision to the Korean who advanced into the gold-medal match.
“It has been a busy period identifying gaps and measuring the work that still needs to be done over the final two years of this quadrennial to achieve our goals in Tokyo 2020,” said Guy Thibault, who was recently appointed performance director of Taekwondo Canada.
“We have identified many areas that need improvement within our high-performance program to ensure our athletes receive the support they need. That said, our athletes have delivered some strong results this year, and we need to use these as motivation as we begin our preparation for 2019 and 2020.”
The 2018 season was highlighted by Skylar Park winning the bronze medal at both the Grand Prix in Rome and Manchester. Winnipeg’s 16-year-old Ethan McClymont also won a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Skylar and Ethan both made a name for themselves on the Grand Prix circuit and at the Youth Olympic Games this year,” added Thibault. “The performances by these two athletes provide hope for a brighter future.”
The Canadian squad was coached by Young Choung, Jae Park, Edward Fong and Alain Bernier in Fujairah.
World Taekwondo Grand Prix Fujairah Results
Taekwondo Canada is the National Sport Governing Body for Taekwondo in Canada. We are recognized by World Taekwondo, Pan American Taekwondo Union, Sport Canada, Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Taekwondo Canada sends national teams to the Olympic Games, World Taekwondo Championships, Pan Am Taekwondo Championships, Pan Am Games, World Taekwondo Junior Championships, Poomsae World Championships, Pan Am Poomsae Championships, and is also targeting the 2020 Paralympic Games.