Local athletes capture gold, silver and bronze

By Jamie Harkins

June 1, 2017 12:00 AM

The Lloydminster Art of Taekwon-do and Kung Fu club’s season isn’t quite finished yet, but the strides its students have made this year are already on full display.
Nine of the club’s athletes captured 17 medals in the 39th Annual Western Canadian Karate Championships at Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School on Saturday. This haul included nine gold medals, three second-place showings and five third-place finishes.
Megan Jeffery, a black stripe with the Art of Taekwon-do and Kung Fu club, bested four older competitors, including a five-time winner to capture her first Grand Champion title in forms.
Jeffery, 14, said it took a five-day-a-week training schedule to prepare for the challenge, but the actual time needed to get to this stage was five years. She said becoming a Grand Champion was always her goal, and it’s finally been accomplished.
Eliza Ma, owner of Art of Taekwon-do and Kung Fu, said over 400 martial artists participated in the Western Canadian Championships. She said it marks their annual year-end competition before final testing starts at the club in early June.
“I’m really proud,” said Ma. “You do your best and you hope your best is enough, and theirs was, because everyone medalled at least once.”
Ma said anyone who competed at the tournament was welcome to practise an extra day at the club beforehand, but the real training had to be accomplished on their own time. She noted if they wanted a medal, they had to train as hard as they could to get it, so the strong showing is a good indicator they had put the work in all season.
“They’re much more confident,” she said, when comparing the results of this tournament to the two previous competitions her students have attended this year. “Especially when we bring new students to tournaments, they’re of course nervous, but once you go your first time, you’re much more confident.”
Lance Holmstrom captured a gold medal in kata at the tournament in the aged 17-and-up green to red belt division. The 14-year-old white belt earned the mark in part by missing the call for his regular aged 12-14 beginner belt competition.
“It was kind of scary because they were all much taller than me, well most of them,” said Holmstrom. “What I was thinking was that I couldn’t beat them in sparring, so if I could beat them in anything it was patterns. So, I did one of my patterns.”
Holmstrom said it took months of practice to get his forms pattern of Dan-Gun ready for a tournament. He said the hope is that hard work will enable him to gain a yellow belt at this Friday’s testing.
Jeffery, who will be trying to earn a black belt at the Art of Taekwon-do and Kung Fu club’s tests, said it will require each of the school’s 30 athletes up for a new belt or stripe to show the progress they’ve made from the start of their training to the present day.
“It’s really hard,” said Jeffery, who began training with the Art of Taekwon-do and Kung Fu club at the age of nine. “You’ve got to be ready. If you’re not ready, you shouldn’t test.”

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