Written By: Mike Friello- AAU Taekwondo National Chair
The National AAU Taekwondo Team made history (of sorts) this past week when several members traveled to Toronto, Ontario to participate in the 2013 Canadian Open Taekwondo Championship. History of sorts because, while Cadet Team players have always been invited to travel with the National Junior and Senior squad in years past, this is the first cadet team to have travel, hotel and registration fees paid by the National Program.
This was a result of action taken last year by the National AAU Taekwondo Executive Committee choosing to re-distribute it's financial resources from our Senior National Team to this much younger group of athletes and ‘future stars’. “Recognizing that this younger group of talented athletes was more representative of our actual revenue income AND the future of sport, it was only fair and reasonable to make the switch. A switch that preceded the WTF’s decision to begin offering a Cadet World Championship” says National Chair Mike Friello.
Representing AAU Taekwondo at this year’s Canadian Open Championship were: Juan Alvarado, Shaula Gomez, Sydney Stoyanoff, Danielle Wassell, Marisa Loy, Gabriela Rentas, Joshua Kosloski, Brandon Fletcher, and Gabriel Mendez. Joining these team members were siblings Gabriela Gomez, Samuel Stoyanoff, and Grace Kosloski reminding all of us that Taekwondo truly is a family affair.
In addition to these outstanding young athletes AAU also fielded Senior Team Member and Male Team Captain, Dyango Valladares from Miami, FL. Rounding out the roster were National Head Coach Greg Tubbs and National Coach Arlene Limas. They were joined by National Chair Mr. Friello and Executive Committee Member Mark Giambi.
Dyango, who made the team in 2012 but was unable to travel with the Team that year, was earlier turned away in Hamburg, Germany over his travel documents! We simply could not stand by and watch as this extremely talented athlete and major supporter of our Program missed this opportunity to compete for the second year in a row! And so, Dynago was invited, yet again, to travel with our Cadet Team as we returned to Canada.
How did these Cadet Team Members do? Just Awesome! Eight of the nine Cadets medaled with three (3) Golds and five (5) Silvers. Two additional Gold medals were also earned by their siblings!
In the Youth (10-11) Girls Fly Division Shaula Gomez placed second—only to Grace Kosloski providing AAU with both 1st and 2nd Place. In the Cadet Girls Bantam Division, Sydney Stoyanoff also captured the Silver. The First Place Gold Medal was won by Danielle Wassell in the Cadet Girls Feather Weight division. Marissa Loy just missed medaling in the Cadet Light Weight division losing to the eventual Gold Medalist and having to settle for 5th. In the Cadet Girls Light Middle division Gabriela Rentas fought all the way back from her double elimination class and finished with the Silver medal.
In the largest division of all Cadets, Joshua Kosloski took the Gold among a field of 22 Cadet Boys Flyweights! Among the 20 Cadet Bantam weights Gabriel Mendez also captured the Gold. In the Cadet Boys Light weight class Juan Alvarado captured yet another Silver Medal for Team AAU as did Brandon Fletcher in the Cadet Welter Weight grouping.
Our lone Senior Team Member traveling with us, Dyango Vallendares, having advanced to the second round of competition by defeating Genest Etienne of Canada, he then lost to the #1 rated player in his division Silver Medalist Cesar Rodriquez—a 16 year old super star who has been moved up to Senior Division by the Mexican Olympic Team.
And so, the AAU Taekwondo Program’s first venture of supporting a Cadet Team of athletes to an International event proved most successful. “We are extremely pleased with the performance of these great young athletes said National Chair, Mike Friello.
Their success only confirms our belief that the future of Taekwondo lies with these young people and it is in good hands. AAU Taekwondo would also like to take the time to say ‘Thanks’ for the support of all the wonderful parents who helped make this a most enjoyable experience for all concerned. Without their help, none of this would have been possible.”
Click Here, for the Canadian Open sparring charts for each of these divisions.
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