(September 26, 2016) -- The U.S. National Poomsae Team is in Lima, Peru, this week as the 10th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships get underway on Sept. 29 and run through Oct. 2. The American contingent will be among the record 762 athletes from 55 countries competing across eight age categories from cadets (12-14 year-olds) to over 65. The Championships will feature both recognized and freestyle competitions in individual, pair and mixed team events. Freestyle poomsae was first introduced at the World Championships in 2012 and involves athletes performing taekwondo techniques to a composition of music and choreography.
Team USA will look to build on its haul of 20 medals (four gold, five silver and 11 bronze) from the last World Poomsae Championships held in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 2014.
"With an unprecedented two-year gap between this and the most recent world championships, attendance is looking to be at an all-time high with over 800 athletes from all over the world attending," said U.S. National Team Head Coach Dan Chuang. "It is appropriate then that we are also taking the largest U.S. National Poomsae Team in our country's history to Peru. At the last World Poomsae Championships in 2014, Team USA took an historic third place overall and we are looking to improve on that result this year."
The American team will field a very deep and experienced team heading into this week's competition.
"Our team boasts 21 world medalists, including five world champions (Alvin Jong, Rosalynn Le, Adalis Munoz, Huy Nguyen and Justin Wang)," added Chuang. "However, with an even deeper field this year than was present at the last championships in 2014, we'll have our work cut out for us. But I am confident that with the outstanding preparation of the athletes and their personal coaches, along with the fantastic and knowledgeable coaches and staff that we are bringing with us, that we will achieve a strong team performance."
Athletes in recognized poomsae Cadet (12-14 yrs) and Junior (15-17 yrs) divisions will reach the medal stand by progressing through the cut-off system (preliminary round/semifinal round) then single elimination brackets by performing randomly selected poomsae from a list of compulsory poomsae (Cadet: Taegeuk 4-Keumgang; Junior: Taegeuk 4-Taebaek).Team and Pair divisions will utilize only cut-off format. Senior and Master individual divisions will utilize only single-elimination brackets.
Freestyle divisions perform choreographed poomsae that includes five requirements: jump side kick, multiple kick (typically 3-5 front kicks while airborne), gradient kick (360, 540, 720 spin hook or round kick), sparring kick combination, and acrobatic kicking (back flip with kicks for example).
The members of the 2016 U.S. National Poomsae Team are listed below along with several video interviews conducted at the conclusion of the National Team Trials last month in Colorado Springs and at the USA Taekwondo National Championships in Richmond, Va., in July. For more information on the World Taekwondo Pooomsae Championships CLICK HERE.
2016 U.S. National Poomsae Team Members
Interview with 12-14 Female Team (Megan Lee, Jae Shim and Erica Seo)
Interview with 15-17 Mixed Pair (Priscilla Jo & Vincent Jodjana)
Interview with Pok Sun Yang (41-50 Male Individual)
Interview with Thoa Nguyen (41-50 Female Individual)
Interview with Bruce Gallup (65+ Male Individual)
Interview with Adalis Munoz (18+ Freestyle Female Individual)
Interview with Alex Twu (18+ Freestyle Male Individual)
Interview with Kelsey Ha (18+ Freestyle Mixed Team)