Austin Qualifier This Weekend

April 23, 2009, 12:22 p.m. (ET)

USA Taekwondo, the National Governing Body for the sport of Taekwondo in the United States, will hold a National Qualifier event at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, April 25-26.

The National Qualifier is the third of five qualifying events for 2009. Over 680 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), Buffalo, N.Y. (April 18-19), 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 Austin National Qualifier include five members of the 2008 Junior World Team: 2008 junior world champion Selina Tubbs (Plano, Texas), Jericho Yabut (Canyon Country, Calif.), Victoria Stambaugh (Pasadena, Texas), Aaron Porras (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Jared Schneider (Sugar Land, Texas).

Also competing are two members of the 2008 Junior National Team: Kiana Lo (Danville, Calif.) and Emilia Morrow (Rockville, Md.).

 Other notable competitors include 2008 Olympic Trials runner-up Anees Hasnain (McKinney, Texas); 2008 national champions Alexis Martinez (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Steven Ostrander (Colorado Springs, Colo.); 2007 U.S. Open gold medalist Ally Creel (Highlands Ranch, Colo.); 2006 Junior National Team member Kasey Mallard (Dallas, Texas); 2007 Junior Olympic bronze medalist Kelsey Kitagawa (San Mateo, Calif.); 2007 Junior National Team member Tanner Creel (Highlands Ranch, Colo.); 2007 national champion Richard Lee (Granada Hills, Calif.); 2009 collegiate silver medalist Amber Means (Sugar Land, Texas); 2006 national champion Faith Dortch (Ft. Washington, Md.); 2009 U.S. Open bronze medalist Katie Sievers (Brooklyn Park, Minn.); 2008 collegiate champion Markie Keelan (Camarillo, Calif.); 2005 World University Games team member Jesus Armendariz (La Porte, Texas); and three-time Junior National Team member Maia Eubanks (Houston, Texas).