The MIT Sport Taekwondo team finished off last semester at Brown on Nov. 22. As it was the third match of the year in the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference, the competitors were eager to use the skills that they improved upon over the course of the semester. Both poomsae and sparring were tough this tournament, but the team showed their worth and finished off the day second place in Division I.
The morning poomsae competitions were extremely close, and many team members took spots in the top 10 in each belt division. The team’s forms were looking fantastic, but the divisions were tough, and it was clear that competitors from all schools were stepping up their game for Brown. Black belts Kevin Hu ’15 and Renee Zhao ’18 went to finals in the most competitive men’s and women’s black-belt poomsae divisions. The top poomsae medals began in the women’s red belt divisions, with Jean Chow ’16 earning a silver medal and Yang Dai ’16 right behind her with the bronze. Tahin Syed G earned a silver medal in the men’s red belt division. Green belt Eric Chen ’17 also earned a silver medal in his division. Yellow belts Ekapob “Golf” Kulchoakrungsun ’16 and Sam Amey-Gonzalez ’18 won silver and bronze, respectively.
Sparring was intense and the point totals were close across all of the divisions. There were many great fights, and the team’s overall technique and strength showed a jump from the last tournament at Cornell. All three divisions (A, B, and C teams) won points for the club. Both of the women’s A teams made it to quarters. Women’s A1 Andrea Guatemala ’16 started off by completing a point gap win in 41 seconds. Tam Nguyen G showed great defensive skills in both of her matches. Olga Shestopalova ’16 focused on offense during her women’s A1 match against Brown, and stayed strong against constant head kicks. Women’s A2 team also started off with a point gap from Maria Alexis G. Renee Zhao had solid turning kicks in her rematch against a heavyweight from Cornell.
Men’s A1 had to fight through a deep bracket of four matches to earn a silver medal. Some highlights were Enrique Fernandez Gonzalez G’s 13-0 point gap win against Penn State. George Cheng ’15 also ended a match with a 5-0 point gap, and his opponent left the ring with a bloody nose. Their last match against Cornell ended in a loss, but the exhausted fighters gave it their all. Emmanuel Quevedo G managed to only be scored on three times by a dangerous Cornell fighter.
The B and C teams continue to improve in technique and power. Women’s B1 (Jean Chow, Casey Denham ’15, Rachel Harris ’17) earned a bronze medal, and Women’s B2 (Yang Dai, Jackie Wu ’16) finished in the quarter-finals. Men’s B1 (Tahin Syed G, Shapagat Berdibek ’15, Eric Klinkhammer ’15) and Men’s C1 (Golf Kulchoakrungsun, Eric Chen ’17, Aaron van Dyne G) also earned bronze medals in their respective divisions.