Canada Open 2013: Women Black Belts Steal the Show

Last Friday, the 2013 Canada Open kicked off to an exciting start with all Senior Men and most Senior Women Black Belt divisions.



During the first day of competition, highlights include Canada’s Christopher Iliesco, from Club de taekwondo Sainte-Foy, taking home Gold in the Light weight division after fellow Canadian Maxime Potvin, from Club de Beauport, bowed out of the final round to stand beside Iliesco on the podium and take home a Silver.

British-Colombia’s Melanie Pham met 2011 Pan Am Games bronze medallist Jannet Alegría Peña from Mexico in the semi-final round of the women’s Fly weight category. Pham stood her ground against an aggressive opponent, defending a score of 0-0 through the third round and then again in overtime. The judges’ final decision landed her on the podium taking home a Bronze medal.

The second day of the competition saw Poomsae, the remaining Senior Women Black Belt divisions, most of the Junior Black Belt categories and the official opening ceremonies.

One of the day’s most exciting matches was the final round of the Senior Women Black Belt Light division, where Brazil’s Karem Santos met Mexico’s Paulina Balinas Lira after both winning their way through three matches.




The final was slow to start with the referee prompting the athletes to fight five times until Santos made the first point in the second round. Seven points were scored in the third round ending in 4-4.  As the match went into nail-biting overtime, the spectators went wild and the Mexico team erupted into synchronized chants to encourage a last point – but the match ended without a score. The judges’ decision landed Balinas Lira a Gold medal and Santos, a Silver.

Taekwondo Canada was proud to welcome the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), who spoke at the opening ceremonies about the honour of sport and of events like these. COC Athlete representative and former synchronized diving athlete Marie-Ève Marleau shared inspirational words, from an athlete’s perspective, about attending events of this caliber and the importance of absorbing the experience.

After all the speeches, Master Tommy Chang introduced the Korean Diplomacy Demo Team to a highly-excited crowd and the energy only elevated from there. The team’s performance astonished the crowd with a blend of board breaking, stylized Poomsae and blindfolded apple smashing. As predicted, it was a not-to-miss.

Day three was truly a demonstration of the female talent that exists in the sport of taekwondo.

As the remainder of the women’s black belt divisions took to the rings today they consistently demonstrated their elite abilities through intentional and impactful delivery of their skills.

Canadian Skylar Park, Cadet Black Belt Light Middle, stole the show today in each of her three fights and ended up not only walking away with the Gold, but also, qualifying for the Cadet Pan Ams in Mexico in the fall. When asked how she felt about her fights she modestly admitted being content with her performance, except for her last fight, where she noted, “my distancing was off.” Regardless of her distancing issues, she scored three solid headshots.



Source: Canada Taekwondo Federation


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