USA Taekwondo, the National Governing Body for the sport of Taekwondo in the United States, will hold a National Qualifier event at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center in Buffalo, N.Y., April 18-19.
The National Qualifier is the second of five qualifying events for 2009. Over 300 athletes, ranging in age from 6-60, will compete in both forms (poomsae) and sparring disciplines. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. with competition starting at 9:00 a.m. on both days. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Adult (10-59) tickets are $10 for a single-day pass or $15 for a two-day pass. Children (6-9) and seniors (60+) are $7 for a single-day pass and $10 for a two-day pass. Kids 5 & under are admitted free of charge.
Other USAT National Qualifiers held in 2009 are in Kissimmee, Fla. (April 4-5), Austin, Texas (April 25-26), San Jose, Calif. (May 9-10) and Colorado Springs, Colo. (May 16-17).
The National Qualifiers are qualification events for those athletes interested in competing in the World Class division at the 2009 USA Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships and the 2009 USAT National Taekwondo Championships. Each of the top four black belt athletes per sparring weight class in the male divisions and the top four black belt athletes in the female sparring divisions at each qualifier will qualify for the World Class sparring division at the USA Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships and the USAT Senior National Championships (June 30-July 5 in Austin, Texas).
The gold medalists from the World Class division at the 2009 USA Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships in Austin will qualify for the 2009 Junior National Team Trial/Fight-Off later this year.
For the poomsae (forms) competitors, the top four athletes/pairs/teams, per gender, in the 16 Competition Poomsae divisions at each National Qualifier advance to the 2009 U.S. National Poomsae Team Trials in Austin, Texas, June 30-July.
Top competitors in the Buffalo National Qualifier include 2008 World Junior Championships bronze medalist Merissa Pico (Fort Lee, N.J.) and four members of the 2008 U.S. Junior National Team: Shaina Krause (Fairfax Station, Va.), Adrienne Ivey (Ashburn, Va.), Alexandra Cinque (Ossining, N.Y.) and Emilia Morrow (Rockville, Md.).
Other notable competitors include two-time Junior National Team member Kristen Frisch (Avon Lake, Ohio); 2008 national silver medalists Danielle Harrison (Johnston, R.I.), Brett Schuschereba (Derry, N.H.) and Christina Johnson (Rockville, Md.); 2008 national bronze medalist Dessamine Vince Cruz (Frederick, Md.); 2007 national bronze medalist Andrew Oh (Bayside, N.Y.); and 2006 Junior National Team member Cheryl Krause (Fairfax Station, Va.).