PHILIPSBURG-- A small young team represented St. Maarten at the Puerto Rico International Taekwondo Open Championships. The team from the King Yen Taekwondo School, under the direction of Grandmaster Theo Liu consisted of five children age seven to nine and two adults. The group won 11 gold medals, three silver and was named second best International team.
Seven-year-old Bengt Toss earned two gold medals in sparring and a silver in forms. Forms are a choreographed display of self-defence moves design to help teach the athletes how the various moves can be linked together.
Eight-year-old Kimar Persaud earned two gold medals in sparing and eight-year-old Rique-Lee Rosalia and won a gold in sparring and a gold in forms.
Eight-year-old Chardinae Van Heyningen won a silver medal in sparring. Nine-year-old Jordan Frederick earned a gold in sparring and silver in patterns
Two adults also competed. Both Paulien Vuijst and Danny Acosta earned gold in sparring and a second gold each in forms.
“We put St. Maarten once again on the world map of Taekwondo,” beamed Grandmaster Liu. “We receive a lot of invitations from several countries.”
The Puerto Rico Taekwondo Open featured 315 both regional and international athletes.
“The youthful athletes learn a lot as always,” said the grandmaster. “They especially learned of the changes in international rules and scoring of points.”
The international rule changes were important for the young team members to understand and put into practice under real conditions as a larger trip had been planned to Asia.
The trip has been put on hold due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The trip to Puerto Rico was made possible by sponsors NAGICO Insurances N.V., Gulf Insurance-Assuria, Euro Caribbean Linkup N.V., Oriental Caribbean Insurances (OCI), Nicherei Carib Corp, Intermar, St. Maarten Shipping & Stevedoring and AVIS.