Sixteen Canucks Crowned National Taekwondo Champions in Montreal
MONTREAL—Sixteen Canucks earned the title of Canadian Champion at the 2019 Senior National Taekwondo Championships in Montreal.
The nation’s best kyorugi black belt athletes battled it out in eight weight classes in both men’s and women’s taekwondo at Montreal’s Claude-Robillard Sport Complex.
The women’s champions hailed from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Julie-Anne Larrive (Quebec) won the women’s 46kg class. Josipa Kafadar (British Columbia), who was the 2018 World Junior silver medallist, claimed the 49kg division. Charlotte Brown (Quebec) was tops in the 53kg division, Marianne Leclerc (Quebec) was the best of the 57kg division, while Ashley Kraayeveld (Ontario) continued her electric run, winning the 62kg weight class.
“The event was not easy for me because I did not know what to expect having to fight against new competitors in my division,” said the 27-year-old Kraayeveld. “I walked into that venue ready for anything, regardless of the outcome and that is what kept me motivated throughout the day. I was extremely happy with my game plan leading up to the event and that kept it feeling very natural in the ring.”
It’s been quite a run over the last couple of months for Kraayeveld. In November she also won the gold medal at the World Military Taekwondo Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A win at the Quebec City National Championships earlier in January also secured the Torontonian a start at the Pan Am Games Qualifying Tournament for a shot to represent Canada at the Games in Lima, Peru this summer.
“I strongly believe this is my year, and I feel that confidence rises the moment I step into the ring,” added Kraayeveld. “Aside from my crazy work ethics, I have an insane support system and every one of them has contributed to my success towards reaching my ultimate goal of qualifying for Tokyo 2020.”
Nathalie Iliesco (Quebec) finished on top of the 73kg bracket while Yasmine Kermiche (Quebec) was the best in the +73kg division, and Olympian Melissa Pagnotta (Ontario) was the queen of the 67kg division.
“The event went really well for me. My coach and I had been working on different parts of my game, and implementing it into play,” said Pagnotta. “I am happy to qualify for the World Championships (with this result) and will continue to work hard to get a good result there.”
Quebec and Ontario athletes also dominated the men’s matches.
Cedric Genest (Quebec) was the men’s 54kg champ, while Yohan Chang (Ontario), was the man to beat in the 58kg class. Siddharta Bhat (Ontario) finished on top of the 63kg division. His 2017 World Championship teammate, Hervan Nkogho of Quebec, won gold in the 68kg bracket. Eloi Paradis-Deschenes claimed the 74kg title; Christopher Iliesco (Quebec) won gold in the 80kg event, while Jordan Stewart (Ontario) climbed onto the top of the 87kg podium. Quebec City’s Marc-Andre Bergeron was the king of the men’s heavyweight 87+kg class.
“I am very proud of my performance at Canadian Championships. By keeping to the game plan that I had with my coach and putting a lot of work into my preparation for the event, I gave myself the best chance to do well,” said the 27-year-old Bergeron. “I am very optimistic for what is to come, and I am eager to make my debut in international competition in 2019. I cannot wait to get back to the competition floor and fight against athletes representing other nations.”
Bergeron will be granted that opportunity. He, along with the seven other Canadian men winners and six of the women titleholders also secured a ticket to the 2019 World Championships, Manchester, May 15 – 19, 2019, with their victories in Montreal.
While Julie-Anne Larrive and Charlotte Brown won the 46kg and 57kg national titles respectively, they will not be a part of Canada’s World Championship Team because Skylar Park (Manitoba) and Yvette Yong (Ontario) were pre-selected for the premier international event in a non-Olympic year through their World Taekwondo rankings. Yong is currently the top-ranked athlete in the women’s 46kg division, and Park competes in the women’s 57kg class.
“With the Tokyo Olympics just over one year away, it is of the utmost importance that ever athlete seeking to qualify for those Games to participate at World Championships,” added Bergeron. “It’s not only a tournament with a lot of weight in terms of points accumulation for Olympic rankings, but it also represents another opportunity to see how you’re doing compared to the world’s best athletes in our respective divisions.”
The athlete MVP’s at the 2019 Senior National Championships were awarded to Quebec’s Cedric Genest (male winner) and British Columbia’s Josipa Kafadar (female winner).
Two Quebec coaches were recognized with MVP coaching honours. Alain Bernier was the top coach in the men’s division, while Paul Germain was recognized for his coaching leadership in the women’s tournament.
Complete Senior National Championship Results: https://bit.ly/2DJQjzy
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.