OTTAWA (Taekwondo Canada) – For the first time in 30 years, the 2018 National Taekwondo Championships will be in Ottawa, where qualification for several international events will take place.
The Feb. 15-18 nationals will also serve as the qualification tournament for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Tunisia, the Pan Am Taekwondo Championships in the U.S.A., the World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Tunisia, and the World Poomsae Championships in Chinese Taipei.
Melissa Pagnotta, a 2016 Summer Olympic Games competitor, looks to continue her national dominance in the F-67kg division. She enters the year ranked 10th in the world in her weight class.
Also looking to start the year off right is 2016 Junior World Champion Skylar Park, who is now entering her third year of Senior competition. Park is ranked ninth in the world in the F-57kg category, after winning gold medals in multiple international Opens and the Commonwealth Championships in 2017.
The 2018 national competition will feature a strong local contingent of athletes, all vying to represent the nation at tournaments around the world.
Éloi Paradis-Deschênes, Ottawa Sport Award winner, will be seeking gold in the M-74kg division after a silver medal finish at the 2017 Nationals.
Hanna Bel Bariciak, who enters the tournament as the highest ranked female Cadet in Ontario, is looking to follow up her gold medal at the 2017 Canada Open by winning her first gold at nationals.
Teana Averbeck, the 2017 Ontario champion, will also be looking for her first nationals gold after earning silver at the 2017 nationals, and a bronze at the 2017 Canada Open.
Averbeck and Bariciak will be coached by Master George Koh, who runs a local dojang in Ottawa. Master Koh has served as a coach at the provincial level as well as for Team Canada, and is a certified referee at the provincial level.