Johnny Nguyen (Chandler, Ariz.) and Mayra Grimaldo (Los Angeles, Calif.) reached the medal podium on Tuesday's opening day of the Korean Open in Incheon, Korea.
Nguyen started the day off with a bang,clearly dominating his opponents by utilizing numerous double kicks both on the attack and the defense. He advanced to the finals and captured a silver medal for the men's finweight division.
Grimaldo, competing in the women's flyweight division, had a bit of a shaky start during her first match, but rapidly gained control of her nerves and got in the zone. After winning her first match, she proceeded to win her second match by a landslide as she delivered a clean knockout to her South African opponent. Grimaldo advanced to the semifinals where she lost a very close match against her Russian opponent and captured a bronze medal for the USA.
Alan Ho, the men's flyweight representative, showed great spirit and determination as he won his first match against Iran. Although Iran was originally declared the victor, the judges agreed to review a protest and discuss one of Ho's unaccounted headshots thrown in the final seconds of the match. Ho won the protest and advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost to an experienced player from South Africa.
Master Young In Cheon from YIC Taekwondo in Diamond Bar, Calif., has brought 16 USA athletes on the 10-day tour to compete in the 5th Korean Open International Taekwondo Championship. The Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism Korea and Korean Culture Center Los Angeles sponsored the Global Elite Taekwondo Development Program. Eight members of the team are first-place winners from the 2009 International Taekwondo Festival and the other eight were selected with the support of USA Taekwondo.
The Korea Open is from August 18-22nd at the Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium and is sanctioned by the WTF and organized by the Korea Taekwondo Association. There are over 50 countries attending and over 1500 competitors.