conquested us world open

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i felt tremendous pressure going into this year’s us world open for so many reasons – definitely tenfolds more than last year’s. last year being the first go had its uncertainties, but because of my successes, it gave me extra stress and pressure this time around to live up to the unwritten expectations. nationals in the summer gave me one of the biggest blows in my competition career. it was one of my worst performances to say the least; it almost made me certain i was going to call it quits for taekwondo competitions. since then, i haven’t willed myself to step onto the mat again to do what i thought i loved. thankfully, my competitiveness fought through to cling onto my competition dreams and didn’t allow me give up on my passion. slowly i left canadian nationals 2015 behind and began training again. it’s almost a year since my last competition experience. the layoff has definitely triggered endless pre-competition jitters. i withdrew from a competition in february due to fear and at times i had the biggest urge to withdraw from this one as well. i knew this year’s division would be even tougher than last because i would be up against two teammates of mine. we’re a team that supports each other but there’s no secret that i’m a competitor at heart. i didn’t want to lose and really wanted to live up to expectations, expectations that i have for myself. for that reason, the pressure really got into my head and i was struggling to concentrate on my game. luckily, i have all the right people around me to give me all the support to guide me through these tough times and bring the best out of me. they gave me the strength to carry on even at my weakest times. days leading up to the competition and even minutes prior to going on deck, my mind replayed all the things that was said to me. i had a lot to prove and i did exactly that. just like last us world open, i was the last to go in my school and last to go in my division. everyone from my team including the grandmaster were crowding around my ring. the long wait for my teammates to finish built up so much tension. to make it worse, the opening ceremony coincidentally started as it was my turn to step on the mat. from the start of division, i was so focused i zoned out everyone and including the demo music; it was my time – nothing but myself. i didn’t dare watch any of my competitors’ poomsaes or scores. in fact, i didn’t even look at my own scores so i had no idea what to expect as the judges announced the medallists. all i knew was i stepped off the mat confidently feeling good about the performance i had put forth. getting silver for individual is the silver lining to this trip and a great way to cap off us world open 2016. i felt my mental game was the strongest it’s ever been heading into a competition and i owe that to a lot of people. i feel some confidence and self belief slowly coming back to me

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