TAEKWONDO: March Athlete Profile -- Kickin' It With...Anees Hasnain

March 01, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
(For the complete profile, including pictures, go to: http://www.usa-taekwondo.us/624_1937.htm) On April 5th, 16-year old Anees Hasnain will compete against 17-year old Charlotte Craig to determine which teenager will represent the United States in the female Olympic flyweight division at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. It has been a rapid rise in the sport for the McKinney, Texas, native who is a senior at Plano Christian Academy. Hasnain was also a Level 10 gymnast before turning her full efforts to Taekwondo. In 2007 alone, she won gold at the U.S. Open, Dutch Open, German Open and Junior Olympics. Entering the Olympic Trials Finals next month in Des Moines, Iowa, as the challenger to the top-seeded Craig, Hasnain will need to defeat Craig twice to earn the Olympic spot, while Craig needs just one victory. Anees answered the following 10 questions for this month's USA Taekwondo Athlete Profile... Q1: How has qualifying for the Olympic Trials Finals affected your training' ANEES HASNAIN: My training hasn't changed dramatically, just a few tweaks here and there. Q2: What is your favorite country that you have visited for competition and why' ANEES HASNAIN: My favorite country that I have visited so far is Germany. The streets were very clean and the people were friendly. Q3: Who is one Taekwondo athlete you really want to watch this summer in Beijing' ANEES HASNAIN: I really want to watch Nia Abdallah, if she makes the U.S. Olympic Team. Q4: What is one thing that you can't live without' ANEES HASNAIN: I couldn't live without my family or friends. Q5: What are your goals in the sport' ANEES HASNAIN: I really want to compete in the Olympics. I am very lucky because I have many opportunities to achieve this goal and my family, coach, and friends are all very supportive. Q6: What's a place in America you'd like to see' ANEES HASNAIN: I would love to visit the Grand Canyon. I have wanted to visit it for a while. Q7: You competed in the 2007 Dutch Open and German Open, winning gold in both events. What did you learn from that international experience that will help you as you move forward' ANEES HASNAIN: I learned that where and when you compete doesn't matter, a competition is a competition. Q8: You were also a Level 10 gymnast. Did you have any dreams of making the Olympics in gymnastics' ANEES HASNAIN: When I did gymnastics, I had the dream of making the Olympic team for both gymnastics and taekwondo. It was my ultimate goal. After I had to quit gymnastics due to a back injury, I focused all of my energy on taekwondo. Q9: Do you have any pre-competition superstitions or rituals that you adhere to' ANEES HASNAIN: I usually try to eat fruit for breakfast the morning of my competition, but that's about it. I don't think athletes should have to rely on those kinds of things to win. Q10: What's your favorite sport to watch on TV or a team you root for' ANEES HASNAIN: My favorite sports to watch on TV are gymnastics and ice skating. My favorite ice skaters are Michelle Kwan and Evgeny Plushanko. I will watch basketball occasionally, though. ###