USA Taekwondo, the National Governing Body for the sport of Taekwondo in the United States, will hold a National Qualifier event at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., May 9-10.
The National Qualifier is the fourth of five qualifying events for 2009. Over 670 athletes, ranging in age from 6-60, will compete in both forms (poomsae) and sparring disciplines. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday with competition starting at 8:30 a.m., while on Sunday the doors open at 8:30 a.m. with competition starting at 9:00 a.m. 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), Austin, Texas (April 25-26) 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 San Jose National Qualifier include 2008 Olympic Team member Charlotte Craig (Murietta, Calif.), Jade Lopez (Union City, Calif.) who placed third at the 2008 Olympic Trials, and all three members of the bronze-medal winning Female 2nd team from the 2008 World Poomsae Championships: Barbara Brand (Sacramento, Calif.), Anacleta Thorne (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Tara Zielenski (Sacramento, Calif.).
Other notable competitors include 2009 U.S. Open gold medalist Gus Villa (East Los Angeles, Calif.); 2008 Junior World Team member Jared Schneider (Sugar Land, Texas); 2008 Junior National Team member Andre Mota (Sacramento, Calif.); 2008 National Poomsae Team member Madison Motoyasu (Santa Clarita, Calif.); 2008 national champion Jermaine James (Cape Coral, Fla.); 2007 national champion Natalie Aguilar (Los Angeles, Calif.); 2009 U.S. Open silver medalist Mark Kang (Chatsworth, Calif.); 2008 National Championships silver medalists Jessica Pryor (Sacramento, Calif.) and Sanaz Shahbazi (San Jose, Calif.); 2009 U.S. Open bronze medalist Stepfon Westbook (Pacoima, Calif.); 2009 National Collegiate bronze medalist T.J. Leising (Santa Clarita, Calif.); 2008 U.S. Open bronze medalist Jared Reed (Elverta, Calif.); 2008 Junior Olympic bronze medalist Yasmine Bomagat (Brentwood, Calif.); and Mario Harris (Las Vegas, Nev.) who placed second at the 2009 National Team Qualifier.