UPDATED: Elite Poomsae Competitors Excel in Aguascalientes

Oct. 27, 2014, 2:17 p.m. (ET)


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.—A large contingent of Team USA athletes has arrived in Aguascalientes, Mexico, for the 9th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships, which will take place Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at the Olympic Gym.

The 2014 USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team was selected after the U.S. National Poomsae Team Trials during the 2014 USA Taekwondo National Championships July 2-6 in San Jose, Calif. The team, which features members between the ages of 12 and 65+, will compete in individual, pair, and team divisions in Aguascalientes.

The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) also recently announced that the competition will include a new division: under 17 freestyle team. As there was insufficient time for a team trial before the event, current USAT National Poomsae Team members Trina Dao, Tyler Dao, Kenneth Doan, Arianna Le and Khoa Nguyen will compete in this division.

The rest of the Team USA athletes who will compete in Aguascalientes are as follows:

2014 U.S. Poomsae Team Trial Gold Medalists 

INDIVIDUAL DIVISION

 

 

12-14 Cadet Female

Karyn

Real

12-14 Cadet Male

Kyle

Tanimura

15-17 Junior Female

Sunho

Min

15-17 Junior Male

Michael

Couloucoundis

18-30 Senior Female

Carissa

Fu

18-30 Senior Male

Edward

Jeong

31-40 2nd Senior Female

Rosalyn

Le

31-40 2nd Senior Male

Justin

Wang

41-50 1st Master Female

Elva

Adams

41-50 1st Master Male

Garth

Cooley

51-60 2nd Master Female

Kristi

George

51-60 2nd Master Male

Reggie

Ubiadas

61-65 3rd Master Female

Noreen

Thackrey

61-65 3rd Master Male

Chi

Duong

66+ 4th Master Female

Erica

Linthorst

66+ 4th Master Male

Russ

Johnson

PAIR DIVISION

 

 

12-14 Cadet Pair Female

Riann

Jao

12-14 Cadet Pair Male

Vincent

Jodjana

15-17 Junior Pair Female

Josephine

Wong

15-17 Junior Pair Male

Chris

Lu

18-30 1st Pair Female

Megan

Yi

18-30 1st Pair Male

Edward

Jeong

30+ 2nd Pair Female

Justin

Wang

30+ 2nd Pair Male

Rosalyn

Le

TEAM DIVISION

 

 

12-14 Cadet Female Team

Jamie

Ng

12-14 Cadet Female Team

Arianna

Le

12-14 Cadet Female Team

Riann

Jao

12-14 Cadet Male Team

Kyle

Tanimura

12-14 Cadet Male Team

Tyler

Dao

12-14 Cadet Male Team

Vincent

Jodjana

15-17 Junior Female Team

Josephine

Wong

15-17 Junior Female Team

Evangeline

Jodjana

15-17 Junior Female Team

Chrixy

Lam

15-17 Junior Male Team

Chris

Lu

15-17 Junior Male Team

Shemual

Tsai

15-17 Junior Male Team

Kyle

Ng

18-30 1st Female Team

Margaret

Kim

18-30 1st Female Team

Saejin

Yi

18-30 1st Female Team

Stephany

Kim

18-30 1st Male Team

Huy

Nguyen

18-30 1st Male Team

Albert

Jong

18-30 1st Male Team

Alvin

Jong

31+ 2nd Female Team

Elva

Adams

31+ 2nd Female Team

Kathy

Do

31+ 2nd Female Team

Rosalyn

Le

31+ 2nd Male Team

Anh

Nguyen

31+ 2nd Male Team

Justin

Wang

31+ 2nd Male Team

Chau

Truong

FREESTYLE DIVISION

 

 

12-17 Female

Trina

Dao

12-17 Male

Kenneth

Doan

18+ Female

Adalis

Munoz

18+ Male

Alex

Twu

12-17 Pair Female

Arianna

Le

12-17 Pair Male

Tyler

Dai

18+Pair Female

Heather

Huynh

 18+ Pair Male

Long

Nguyen

12+ Team

Kelsey

Ha

12+ Team

Victoria

Dizon

12+ Team

Long

Nguyen

12+ Team

Lance

Supnet

12+ Team

Alex

Twu

In addition, the USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team coaching staff is as follows: Barbara Brand, Akiko Reyes, Dan Chuang, Huy Nguyen and Dave Turgeon. Thu Doolittle, Anacleta Thorne and Tara Zielinski are the team managers. Brand, who also serves as the team coordinator, has appointed the team managers on a rotational basis.

Team USA Wins Freestyle Medals in Aguascalientes

By Barbara Brand, USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team Coach

Adalis (A.J.) Munoz threw quadruple jump front kicks, backflip kicks and multiple 540 jump spin hook kicks on her way to winning the 17+ individual freestyle division gold medal on Thursday, day one of the 9th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Munoz’s electrifying performance set to her music selection, “Mal De Amores,” captivated the enthusiastic audience. Her score of 7.44 was a full 1.36 above the silver medalist from Russia. Viet Nam and Peru earned the bronze medals.

“It’s a great honor to be a part of Team USA,” Munoz said after the win. “After nationals in July, I decided for worlds I would need to get out of my comfort zone and go for things that I usually don’t practice. Those 540 hooks would be my biggest challenge, because I was not only doing one but two.

“I had one as my main spinning kick, and the second was a part of my sparring segment. After watching the finalists from last year, I knew I would have to step up my acrobatics and my jumping front kicks. After a little hesitation, I was finally able to nail four front kicks in the air. For my acrobatics, I went for a round-off double flash; however, due to a training accident, I had to do a one-handed round-off double flash—something I’ve never attempted before.”

Anh Nguyen, Chau Truong and Justin Wang won the silver medal in the second male team division. They finished within .02 points of the gold medalists from the Philippines; Turkey and Mexico earned the bronze medals.

“We trained all year long for this moment,” Nguyen said. “We wanted to be on the podium but never expected to be this close to the gold medal. After finishing second, I think it’s still unreal. This result will make us train even harder so that one day we can hear our American anthem while standing on the podium.”

Kyle Tanimura won the cadet male division bronze medal after placing first in the preliminary and second in the semifinal round, beating France in the first final, and finishing .02 points behind  Korea in the second final. He was the first Team USA athlete to compete in the newly-recognized poomsae final format (Eight athletes with the highest semifinal scores are randomly drawn to compete against each other in the first final. The four athletes with the highest scores move on to the second final. The two highest-scoring athletes move on to the third final.).

Tanimura was satisfied with his performance. “It was a great experience,” he said. “I can’t wait to go back home, train and go for the gold!”

Eddie Jeong and Megan Yi won the bronze medal in the first pair division. They finished the preliminary round in fourth place, the semifinal in seventh place, won the first final against Spain, and lost to Mexico by .2 points in the second final. Mexico earned the gold medal, Chinese Taipei won the silver medal and Vietnam claimed the bronze medal.

Jeong was happy with the results. “Performing at such a high level and medaling, regardless of the color, is like a dream come true. I’m glad I was able to give everything I had and leave the mat with no regrets. I still have a lot to learn, so I can’t wait to get back home and start training.”

The first female team of Margaret Kim, Stephany Kim and Saejin Yi also won a bronze medal. They faced Taipei in the first final; the gold medal went to Vietnam, the silver medal to Taipei and the other bronze medal to Turkey.

Cadet female Karyn Real also competed to the first final (she placed fourth in the semifinal round and then lost to the silver medalist from Canada in the first final). Garth Cooley also competed to the first final in the first master division (he finished eighth in a semifinal loss to the silver medalist from Korea), and Reggie Ubiadas finished ninth in the second master division, just missing the cut for the first finals.


Team USA Wins Four Medals on Day Two in Aguascalientes

By Barbara Brand, USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team Coach

On day two of the 9th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team stepped onto the mat with the confidence that comes with excellent preparation and strategy. By the end of competition, the team had won four medals: two silver and two bronze in nine divisions.

The Team USA cadet team of Tyler Dao, Vincent Jodjana and Kyle Tanimura earned the silver medal after a win in the first final (Taegeuk 6, 8) against Peru and another against Spain (Keumgang, Taegeuk 7) in the second final. In the third final (Koryo, Taegeuk 5) China won the gold medal, while Spain and Mexico earned the bronze medals.

Following the medal win, Dao said, “I am very proud of my team because we were able to come in second place. This experience has showed me that I have to train harder and that I have to do my best in every run while competing.”

Erica Linthorst earned a silver medal, finishing just .31 points behind Denmark in the third final of the fourth master division (Keumgang, Jitae). She quickly put her success in perspective: “This experience and all the preparation beforehand has motivated me to train harder every day,” she said. “My new mission is to inspire more people of all ages to pursue a healthy and satisfying life through taekwondo and fulfillment through competition.”

The Team USA Freestyle mixed team over 17 of Monina Dizon, Kelsey Ha, Long Nguyen, Lance Supnet and Kim Menchavez won the bronze medal in the highly competitive division. Philippines won the gold medal, Turkey the earned the silver medal, and Mexico claimed the second bronze medal.

Supnet had mixed emotions following the win because teammate Alex Twu was unable to compete due to an injury during a warmup. “We walked into this tournament with a purpose and a goal in mind,” he said. “We were able to transcend our passion and emotion through our freestyle routine. Even though one of our main members was injured right before we were going up on stage, and our whole team was very emotional, we said, ‘This one is for you, Alex.’”



The Team USA second female team of Elva Adams, Kathy Do and Rosalynn Le beat Germany in the first final (Koryo, Taegeuk 8) and scored just short of Mexico in the second final (Shipjin, Keumgang), earning a bronze medal. In the end, Korea earned the gold medal, Mexico claimed the silver medal and Spain won the second bronze medal.

“With the new competition format, we went into competition with the goal of winning the first round against Germany,” Adams said. “In our opinion, they would be the toughest opponents because they were last year’s silver medalists. So our goal was to get past them. I’m really happy and proud that we were able to come together as a team and reach that goal.”

The junior pair of Chris Lu and Josephine Wong placed sixth in the semifinal (Taegeuk 5, Taekbaek) and lost to eventual silver medalist Mexico in the first final (Taegeuk 7, Koryo). Korea won the gold medal, Mexico earned the silver medal and Chinese Taipei and Denmark claimed the bronze medals.

In the under 17 freestyle individual division, Kenneth Doan earned fifth place. The division’s gold medal went to China, the silver medal to Vietnam and the bronze medals to Russia and Australia.

Second senior Justin Wang and second master Kristi George had excellent performances of Shipjin in their divisions’ semifinal rounds but did not advance to the final rounds.

Le also placed eighth in the semifinals of the second senior division (Taegeuk 8, Taebaek) and competed in the first final (Keumgang, Koryo). In that division, Spain won the gold medal, Mexico earned the silver medal and Korea and Brazil won the bronze medals.

Team USA Wins Six Medals on Day Three in Aguascalientes

By Barbara Brand, USA Taekwondo National Poomsae Team Coach

On day three of the 9th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the Team USA first male team of Huy Nguyen, Alvin Jong and Albert Jong captured the gold medal. Precise timing and excellent rhythm was the difference between Team USA’s performance, the silver medalists from Turkey and the bronze medalists from the Philippines and Indonesia.

In the semifinal, the division performed Taaegeuk 7, Keumgang; in the first final, the division performed Koryo, Taebaek; in the second final, the division performed Shipjin, Taegeuk 8; and in the third final, the division performed Pyongwon, Keumgang.

“This event has been an amazing ride,” Alvin Jong said. “With the support of Team USA and the amazing coaching staff members, we were able to accomplish a feat that we could only imagine. A gold medal is only one of the unforgettable moments of this trip! Thank you to all of Team USA and our supporters! Team USA Fighting!”

Trina Dao, a freestyle junior competitor, used a sequence of quadruple jump front kick, vertical side kick, 540 hook kick, aerial and round-off flash kick to drive her to the silver medal. The gold medal went to Vietnam, and the bronze medals to Spain and the Philippines.

“The world championships will be an unforgettable event,” Dao said. “Team USA shone through every competition round, and the determination, power and focus that came from everyone was unbelievable! I was personally very nervous, but with the support of my teammates, coaches and family members, I was able to execute my best performance.”

In the master one division, Elva Adams won the bronze medal, her second of this championships. She faced Finland in the first final (Taegeuk 8, Jitae) and Korea in the second final (Keumgang, Shipjin). Korea earned the gold medal, Turkey won the silver medal and Australia claimed the second bronze medal.

The Team USA freestyle pair of Long Nguyen and Heather Huynh won a bronze medal via a sequence of quadruple jump front kicks, a 720 round kick, a 540 hook and a butterfly twist. Nguyen was excited after the win: “Representing Team USA has been an honor for me,” he said. “With so many athletes from different states, it’s definitely special how we can all come together as one to represent our country.  I am very happy but, more importantly, very honored to stand next to everyone on Team USA as a teammate!”

The American junior team of Angie Jodjana, Chrixy Lam and Josephine Wong earned a bronze medal in their division after a close loss of .06 points to Spain in the first final (Keumgang, Taegeuk 6). Chinese Taipei won the gold medal, the silver medal went to Spain and the other bronze medal went to Denmark.

Afterward, Wong was very grateful for the opportunity to compete: “The world championships were an amazing and unforgettable experience for me and my team,” she said. “We supported each other through each round, and we experienced many mixed feelings of nervousness and happiness throughout this day. We are all proud to be on Team USA and to be able to represent Team USA in the world championships.”

In the new fourth master division, Russ Johnson won a bronze medal with his performance in the third final (Hansu and Jitae). “This was an inspiring experience in every possible way,” he said. “The talent level of Team USA was exceptional, but even more impressive was the character, spirit and patriotism that every member of the team exhibited. I can’t imagine a more impressive group of people.” The gold medal went to Korea, the silver medal went to France and Australia won the second bronze medal.

Team USA junior Sarah Min had a strong start, placing second in the preliminary round (Taegueuk 7, Keumgang) in a field of 22 athletes. She faced Korea in the first final (Koryo, Taegeuk 6). Korea won the gold medal, Chinese Taipei earned the silver medal and the Philippines and Canada finished with the bronze medals.

The American second pair of Garth Cooley and Kristi George also placed ninth and just missed the final cut. The gold medal went to Germany, Chinese Taipei earned the silver medal and Turkey and France claimed the bronze medals (Taeguek 8, Taebaek).

Team USA first senior Eddie Jeong finished second in the preliminary round (Taegeuk 7, Koryo) and 14th in a division of 30 countries. Korea won the gold medal, Mexico earned the silver medal and Germany and Ecuador claimed the bronze medals.