Day 1 gold medalist Adalis Munoz (2nd from left) won her third consecutive world title
Taipei City, Chinese Taipei - (Nov. 15, 2018) -- Team USA kicked off the first day of competition at the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in spectacular fashion on Thursday, earning five medals out of a possible six divisions.
Making history was Adalis "AJ" Munoz, who won a third consecutive world championship in the Freestyle Over 17 Individual Female division. Munoz was in second place after the semifinal round and impressively edged out her Korean counterpart by 0.06 in the final round to take the gold. It is the first time any competitor has earned three gold medals in a Freestyle division. Said Munoz, "There was a lot more pressure this year ... the other competitors had two years to grow and improve. Today got harder as the day went on and I had to really work to persevere."
The Under 17 Freestyle Mixed Team takes silver
Earning a silver in Freestyle Mixed Team Under 17 was Julian Chang, Michael Chiu, Jake De Guzman, Isabella DeMaria, Anna Kaenjak and Sydney Moon. The team placed second out of 12 teams at the end of the day in a single, pressure-filled round of competition for Team USA's best-ever result in this division. Said Chang, "It feels great [to earn the silver medal]. As a sub, I tried to be there for the team every step of the way. It went by so fast, when we saw the results, I realized that I wasn't just with a team, I was with a family."
Eun Ig Lee (l) claimed silver in the Under 60 Individual Male competition
Also earning a silver medal was Eun Ig Lee in the Under 60 Individual Male division. Lee had to advance though preliminary and semifinal cutoff rounds, and two rounds of single elimination in the final round to earn the medal. Said Lee, "It feels so good to win a medal, I'm really proud and happy. This year I focused on controlling the timing of each technique, and that really helped me."
Ryan Real (middle) was a bronze medalist in the Junior Male Individual
Ryan Real earned a bronze medal in the Junior Individual Male Division. Real advanced with high scores through the preliminary and semifinal cutoff rounds, and also went through two rounds of single elimination to earn the bronze in his first year competing in the junior division. Real said of his lead up to the competition, "It was a lot of training and preparation, and trying to build up my strength more, which helped me control my body better."
Jason Guk, Kwanglin Ha and Johnny Nguyen teamed up for bronze in the Over 30 Male Team division
Also earning bronze was Jason Guk, Kwangjin Ha and Johnny Nguyen in the Team Over 30 Male division. The team advanced through the semifinal round in 5th place, and jumped to the medals by defeating Chinese Taipei in the first round of top 8 single elimination, where they were stopped only by the eventual first place team from Korea. Said Nguyen, "I couldn't have done this without my teammates, 'KJ' and Jason."
Representing USA in the Pair Under 30 division on Day 1 was Kelsey Ha and Edward Jeong. In a difficult grouping, they unfortunately just missed the cut in the preliminary cutoff round, despite a strong and powerful performance. Both Ha and Jeong will compete later this week in Freestyle divisions.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS FROM DAY 1
Good luck to Team USA tomorrow on Day 2! It will be a busy day for the team, with 11 divisions being contested.