(October 2, 2016) -- Three more medals on Saturday, including a gold, a silver and a bronze brought Team USA's tally to four gold, three silver and six bronze medals after three days of competition at the 10th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Lima, Peru. Saturday's gold medal by Thoa Nguyen means the U.S. team has surpassed its past record of three gold medals with one day still to go in the competition.
Nguyen captured gold in the U50 Master 1 division. With side kicks of extraordinary height and stability, Nguyen advanced past France, Korea, Russia and Germany. An hour after her victory, Thoa was still in a bit of shock at her performance.
"Just finished worlds, and I can't believe it," Nguyen said. "Honestly, I thought I would have been a bunch more excited. But in all honesty, I have been dreaming of this. I feel like I'm still dreaming of winning. It's a strange feeling. Maybe it's because it hasn't sunk in. I guess I'll need to do it again."
There was more than one U.S. win in the 18+ Freestyle Pair division. The first was that Alex Twu, who suffered a severe ACL injury at the 2014 world championships the morning of his event, returned to compete in excellent health and spirits. The second win was the stellar silver-medal performance that Twu and his partnerVictoria Dizon gave the crowd. As the U.S. team cheered them on, the pair landed every technique with flair and precision.
"Proud to be able to represent my country on the world stage," said Twu before the medal ceremony. "It was unlike any other feeling in the world and I'm so fortunate to have this opportunity."
"It feels surreal to have won a world medal for my country," added Dizon. "I am so grateful for this moment and this opportunity. I'm feeling very proud to be a part of team USA with such wonderful teammates and coaches."
In the 65+ male individual competition, first-time team member Bruce Gallup moved through Keumgang, Jitae,and Chonkwon like a finely tuned machine. His solid performance earned him a well-deserved bronze medal.
"It has been the experience of a lifetime to represent my country at the world championship," Gallup stated. "I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish today but I'm just as proud of being part of this team. They were just as instrumental to my success as they have been to all of the competitors on the team."
Also, in action was Sharlene Duong. Among the youngest and smallest in action in the 12-17 female individual divisions, Duong was rhird going into the semifinals but finished just out of the medals in 5th place despite two pristine performances.
U30 male individual Eddie Jeong looked great in his competition. He advanced in a come-from-behind victory over Norway with a spectacular Shipjin, then advanced over a strong competitor from Egypt before being stopped in a close match with a player from the Philippines in the quarterfinals. Jeong was just one match away from the medals but impressed the whole team with his high kicks and powerful hand techniques.
The 15-17 female team of Rachel Bae, Viviana Cao and Iris Kang advanced to the finals on a strong center stage performance but finished just outside of the medals in sixth place in one of the most talent-packed divisions of the day.
30+ pair Thu Dolittle and George Duong were the first athletes in their division to compete and although they had a very solid run, they were unable to advance from the sizable semifinal group to the finals.
Similarly, U30 male team Sebastian Choi, Michael Couloucoundis and Princeton Rush looked great in their semifinal round with Taegeuk 6 and Pyongwon but finished just behind the cut for the finals in 10th place.
The World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships conclude on Sunday.