Sports taekwondo

Taekwondo takes second place at Princeton

MIT taekwondo team dominates at first tournament of the season

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Nina Anwar '18 thows a kick in a sparring match for MIT.
Frank Fang

The MIT Sport Taekwondo team kicked off its spring season at the Princeton tournament of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference. With strong showings across all belt groups, the team seized second place with 427 points, their best performance in two years.

The day started off with the poomsae competition, where competitors perform a choreographed series of punches and kicks. The team medaled in every division they were represented in, winning two gold, one silver and six bronze medals.

Renee Zhao ’18 and Tam Nguyen G displayed stunning side kicks to place third and fourth respectively in the highly-competitive women's black belt division. Frank Fang G and Akwasi Owusu-Akyaw ’17 led a dominant performance in the men’s red belt division, taking gold and bronze respectively. In the women's red belt division, Nina Anwar ’18 produced a strong performance to win a silver medal.

In the blue belt division, Samuel Majors ’19 continued his stellar performance this season, winning a gold medal. Emily Zhu ’18 showed off her improved power and stances to secure a bronze medal. In yellow-belt poomsae, consistent high-scorers Ali-Amir Aldan ’17 and Iris Hwang ’20 both took bronze, while Yotaro Sueoka ’20 and Malivai Luce G finished in the top 10.

MIT solidified its reputation as a powerhouse in sparring, winning two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Women’s A1 (Elizabeth Pedlow ’20, Rachel Connick G, Zhao) blew away the competition and came out on top with gold. Pedlow dazzled at her first tournament as a black belt, putting on strong performances against the league’s top opponents. Connick went undefeated, dismantling all her opponents with thunderous body and head kicks. Zhao also went undefeated, pulling off her signature head kicks to win three decisive matches and secure their gold medal. Men’s A1 (Nick Hensel G, Ajay Saini ’18, Udit Rathore G) powered through injury and sickness, advancing to the round of 16.

After taking gold at two of three tournaments last semester, women’s B1 (Anwar, Ashley Wang ’17, Sam Amey-Gonzalez ’18) once again won gold. Anwar won two matches by point-gap, while Wang held strong even against larger opponents. In the deciding match, Amey-Gonzalez kept her opponent guessing with an arsenal of powerful kicks and clinched the gold in convincing fashion.

Both men’s B teams had amazing runs. Men’s B1 (Lorenz Baumgartner G, Akwasi Owusu-Akyaw ’17, Josh Murdock G) won bronze, while men’s B2 (Fang, Manuel Guillen ’18, Samuel Majors ’19) had a breakout performance, taking silver in a difficult division. Fang and Guillen both landed several beautiful head kicks, and Majors punched opponents well above his own weight, soundly defeating the other heavyweights.

Women’s C1 (Hwang, Jaz Harris ’18, Melat Anteneh ’20) put on an outstanding performance to win bronze, assisted by Harris's incredible cut kicks. Men’s C1 (Malivai Luce G., Yotaro Sueoka ’20, Aldan) fought a series of tough matches to advance to the round of 16. Fighting in their first-ever tournament, men's C2 (Jakob Coray ’20, Kenny Derek ’20) held their own against more experienced opponents, advancing to the round of 32.

The team will continue to train hard for the final ECTC tournament of the year, to be held on Apr. 22 at the University of Vermont. MIT will also compete at the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association Championships in San Diego on Apr. 1 and 2, where they hope to continue to excel.

Justin Lim is a member of the class of 2020.