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

a-game at us world open

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there was no shortage of pressure at us world open with the presence of the grandmaster, team of students and their parents. little was said, but this competition would also determine my path moving forward and going to nationals next month. i went into this competition feeling undertrained because of all my commitments with the sunrun, dodgeball, playoffs, demos and coaching duties; too much time spent coaching the kids i left no time for myself. it was a mixed bag of feelings from being emotionally unstable to psychologically drained cause i knew what was on the line, physically fine for the most part other than coping with a bad groin that won’t heal and battling a week-long cold. the pressure was far beyond anything i’ve ever experienced since all my school’s competitors had already finished their events, leaving me last to go on stage so everybody hovered behind my ring. i am not a fan of spotlight and this certainly a lot more attention than i am comfortable with. what made it even more nerve wrecking is i was queued second last in my division meaning i had to go through the pain of watching and waiting for my fellow competitors. i was so nervous i didn’t dare watch any of my competitors or their results. i zoned out everyone who tried to talk to me and only focused on what i had to do. i went out there and did what i had to do, walked off the mats straight to my coach without even looking at my score. i was greeted by high fives and a “pretty good” which meant the world to me cause rarely does he compliment me. everybody was quick to tell me i secured at least a silver medal based on the scores of those who went before me. i didn’t believe it, but came to realization as the final results were announced. it wasn’t the medal around my neck that brought joy to me, it was beating my biggest rival from my own school and that proved plenty, more than words can say. most importantly i felt good out there doing what i thought was my best poomsae and best performance yet. the silver lining was i later found out the mexican who topped my score was the bronze medallist at this year’s worlds. thankfully i was told after the fact or i would be too psyched out, as if i didn’t have enough pressure

day 647 – in action

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so this is the big stage at oregon convention centre. it’s my day to go out and prove to everyone what i am made of and i didn’t disappoint. i shone today as i stepped out onto the mats, took care of business and couldn’t be any happier with the results. i came out a gold medallist for pair poomsae and a silver medallist for individual poomsae. the morning seemed to go on forever with long waits and delays between my two events, that i didn’t even get a chance to eat lunch. but it’s all over and guess what, i will be bringing home some hardware