Barbara Brand: World Taekwondo Poomsae Championship Wrap-up, Master Kim quotesThe U.S. won a bronze medal in the freestyle team division on the final day of the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships. The team of Hazel Cruz, Kody Han, Anh Nguyen, Long Nguyen and Amber Rodriguez performed on the San Antonio Coliseum’s center stage amid an energetic crowd. The audience spontaneously applauded and cheered for the U.S. as well as all other countries in the division as the teams threw everything into the mix— spectacular back flips, jump spin kicks, slow motion kicks, sparring footwork and standard poomsae techniques, all of which were accompanied by music. The U.S. performance included flying side kicks, multiple jump kicks, a 720 jump spin hook kick and a back flip. Following the bronze medal win, Cruz said, “The whole experience was overwhelming. From training with my team in a garage after school every day to being able to represent the US on medal stand brings me great pride and humility.”
The medal winning scores were: Vietnam, 7.97; Philippines, 7.70; China, 7.67; U.S. 7.47.Earlier in the day, the U.S. 2nd Male Team of Anh Long, Chau Truong and Justin Wang advanced to the finals by placing fourth in the semi-final round (Shipjin/Taebaek). Their final round (Keumgang/Chonkwon) was strong and in sync, and the team finished sixth. Medals in this division were won by: Iran, 7.80; Egypt, 7.60; Chinese Taipei, 7.39; Colombia, 7.18.
In the 2nd Female Team division, Sarah Lavan, Kristi George and Mary Beth Mitchell performed (Shipjin/Jitae) in the final round and finished sixth. Germany took gold with a score of 7.43, Colombia silver with 7.30, Taipei bronze with 7.29, and Russia bronze with 7.20.
In this our strongest ever world poomsae championship performance, the U.S. won a total of six medals— two gold, one silver, and three bronze. In addition, the U.S. captured third place overall in the championship (Korea took first and Iran second), and in the closing ceremony, received an award medal for most improved team.
“This is a surreal experience for me as the Head of Team and Coach of the most talented US National Poomsae Team ever,” said Master Jimmy Kim. “Since the first WTF World Poomsae Championships, Team USA has never been this close to winning the coveted overall team award. I have to give all the credit to the dedicated team members and their personal coaches for training and preparing so well.
“I also owe a debt of gratitude to the U.S. National Poomsae Team coaches— Barbara Brand, Ibrahim Chishti, Muhammad Chishti, Ron Southwick and Alex Wang for lending their expertise in helping each and every athlete to perform the best of their ability. Thanks to Captains Garth Cooley and Akiko Reyes who kept the team spirit high as well as provided the team words of wisdom. Special thanks to team managers, Aline Salzberg and Leslie Machado for their unselfish dedication to the team and for making this trip run smoothly. I appreciate the USA referees, Raymond Hsu, Joon Yun and the organizing committee— Victoria Serbin, Kimberly Choe and Chung Pham, who were so supportive of the U.S. delegation. Also, the people of Tunja, Columbia, were so friendly and hospitable. I will miss it here while looking forward to Bali, Indonesia, next December!”