Three local girls competed March 10-13 in the International Taekwondo Championship in San German, Puerto Rico. The tournament, hosted by Master Bill Zafiropoulos, featured teams from 12 countries.
Liberty County Recreation Department sports taekwondo team members Tatiana Kenny, Karen Edwards and Kristal Delgado participated in their first tournament outside of the United States, according to LCRD taekwondo coach Master Rafael Medina. The team also traveled with coaches Edmond Conyers and Rafael Lopez.
The team earned five medals. Edwards medaled in sparring; Kenny earned gold medals in sparring and forms; and Delgado earned a gold in forms and a silver in sparring.
The coach said the intense competition consisted of two full days of fighting.
“We are very proud of our athletes’ achievements and are very appreciative and thankful to the tournament director,” Medina said. “Tournaments are not just for a trophy — they allow members to meet new people, make new friends, put nerves to the test and display skills. By focusing on these purposes, it is very possible to be happy whether one wins or loses.”
Medina said taekwondo’s primary philosophy is to create a peaceful world through personal training and developing individual potential.
“Taekwondo helps you build strong character and focuses on positive moral values like respect, courage, patience, perseverance and integrity,” he said. “Taekwondo competitions are a great way to test your abilities and to learn from the best. Often in international taekwondo competitions, you have the chance to compete with the best fighters and take your taekwondo career to the next
Medina’s annual tournament at the Shuman Recreation Center in James Brown Park has grown the past few years to include international teams. Last year, a group came from Puerto Rico, and Medina expects a few more international teams to make the trip to Hinesville for this year’s tournament, which is Nov. 2.