The U.S. freestyle poomsae team will attempt to match their sparring counterparts on Friday
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (March 7, 2019 -- The United States enjoyed a perfect opening day at the Pan Am Games & Parapan Am Games Qualification Tournament on Thursday in Santo Domingo. All eight sparring athletes qualified their divisions for this summer's Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. In addition, both para sparring athletes secured their weight classes for the Para Pan Am Games.
In male sparring, CJ Nickolas qualified the U.S. in the -68kg category, defeating Guyana, 13-3, Thomas Rahimi defeated Suriname to qualify the -80kg division, Stephen Lambdin, with a 13-9 victory over Honduras, secured the +80kg category, and David Kim beat Puerto Rico to qualify the -58kg division.
On the women's sparring side, Paige McPherson was seeded into the quarterfinals and automatically qualified the U.S. in the -67kg weight division, Monique Rodriguez defeated host country Domincan Republic to secure the -49kg class, Desirae Rolaff, in the -57kg weight division, beat Guatemala in golden round with superiority, 28-28, and Madelynn Gorman-Shore beat Haiti by point gap in the +67kg division.
In para sparring, Johnny Birch beat Cuba in the men's K44 +75kg division to qualify the U.S. for the Parapan American Games. Birch went on to defeat Mexico for the gold medal in this G-1 para taekwondo competition. Elsewhere, Michael Kacer qualified the U.S. in the K44 men’s -75kg division for the Parapan Am Games by defeating Ecuador.
On Friday, the U.S. freestyle poomsae team of Kelsy Ha, Aleena Duong, Alex Twu, Eddie Jeong, and Kody Han will also attempt to qualify for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima.