Adalis Munoz is pictured with Coach Barbara Brand
(September 30, 2016) - Adalis (AJ) Munoz (Fort Campbell, Ky.) successfully defended her world championship title in the Freestyle 18+ Individual Division on Thursday at the 10th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Lima, Peru.
"I'm overwhelmed with emotions," said Munoz after the competition. "It's been two years since the last World Championships, and that's a lot of time for athletes to elevate their skills. For me, it's been a challenging journey pushing myself day in and day out to accomplish skills I could only dream of in 2014. I'm proud to say that effort has paid off. I am over the moon with being a two-time world champion and cannot wait to see what the future holds."
Spain's Ingrid Gomez Schroth took the silver medal while Soraya Wahjudi claimed the bronze.
Also on Thursday, in the 12-17 Freestyle Pair competition, Californians Kenneth Doan and Jamie Ng won the bronze medal by performing every technique with dynamic power, grace, and synchronicity. The American duo trailed only the teams from Turkey (gold) and Spain (silver).
"This is truly a win to remember," Doan said. "With Jamie and I, we really had the roughest trainings. Before the performance, we had not one good run. But when it mattered, we finally had our first A run on the world stage (as USA coaches expressed) because we bonded through a grueling day of waiting and were able to stay together until the end. We really felt we worked for this win."
Finishing just a breath away from the medal stand in fifth place was the U30 Female Team of Cindy Asano, Heather Huynh and Sunho Min. They were edged out by mere hundredths of a point. Chinese Taipei won the gold followed by the teams from Vietnam and Iran.
"Regardless of the results, I think we were able to have one of the best performances out there today, and we couldn't have done it without each other," commented Asano. "Our team chemistry and friendship is what allowed us to come this far and it is what continues to serve as our foundation."
In the 12-14 cadet male and female divisions, Ryan Real and Piper Kindle gave stellar performances as both reached the final round of 8 athletes, but both came up just hundredths short against Peru and China, respectively.
In the Under 60 male individual division, Eun Ig Lee advanced over Columbia and Morocco to the round of 8 in the all-single elimination bracket, but lost by 0.1 points to Korea, also just one match from the medals.
The under 30 pair of Angelica Jensen and Princeton Rush advanced from the preliminary round to the semifinal round where they finished just shy of top 8 in one of the most competitive divisions of the day.
"AJ Munoz's historic gold was a highlight for the team, and Kenneth Doan and Jamie Ng finished the day strong for Team USA for a bronze -- a perfect two for two medals in the freestyle divisions," said U.S. Coach Dan Chuang. "The team was just hundredths away from medals in four recognized poomsae categories, showing their impressive caliber. On Friday, 22 athletes compete - I and the coaching staff are looking forward to seeing them build on today's strong performances."
For more information on the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championshps go to http://www.worldtaekwondofederation.net/competition/wtf-world-taekwondo-poomsae-championships/10th-2016/.