In June 2019, Jamaica’s taekwondo team won a slew of medals at the Pan Am Taekwondo Championships in Ocala, Florida. The eight-member team came home with six gold medals, five silver medals, and four bronze medals. According to the team’s coach Wayne Smith, its performance at the high-level competition was “beyond expectation.” This was the first time the team had entered the Pan Am championship event representing the Original ITF. While it is a young team, the coach added, it has “grit and character.” The Jamaican Taekwondo team participating at the Pan Am competition comprised athletes from two clubs: the ITF Tong-IL-Do Jamaica and the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Academy/Federation.
The team members ranged in age from five years old to 60 years old. They competed in sparring and patterns. The team faced competitors from 19 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Chile, Wales, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Haiti, USA, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Grenada, and Mongolia. A gold medal in sparring was won by Ryan Gordon, 8, who also won a silver medal in patterns. Alyssa Anne Beaumont, 7, won two silver medals for the team, while Joshua Heholt, 9, won two bronze. Daniel Wright. 12, won gold in pattern and bronze in sparring. Jemar Costley, 19, won two bronze medals. A gold medal is sparring and a silver in patterns was won by Govind Venugopal, 8. The team fighters won three gold medals, two gold for Racquel Colleso and one for Trevor Webb Jr.
Coach Smith gave his thanks to the parents of the team members, noting that their support was what made everything possible and showed how this support in combination with a good program brings positive results in children’s development.
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