Nine-year-old Luke Allen was in the spotlight at the Ricoh Sport Awards banquet in Halifax June 1.
The nine-year-old Antigonish native, a member of the Xavier Taekwondo Club, was one of two recipients of the Sport Makes a Difference Award for 2013. Allen has been participating in the sport for the past two and a half years.
He is the son of Rob and Loreen Allen.
“We feel very proud to be able to explain how taekwondo has made such a difference in our son life,” the Allen’s said.
Luke, at the age of six, was diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder, which makes it very difficult for him to perform both simple fine and gross motor activities.
The confidence, determination and self-esteem Luke has developed through taekwondo have been life changing for him. He now has the confidence to try anything.
Allen’s coach, Jeremy Reeve, said his athlete was nominated for the award by the provincial society of taekwondo. Reeve said each member sport in Sport Nova Scotia is permitted to recommend a candidate.
“I think the hard work Luke puts in really helped him win the award,” Reeve said.
“We’re very happy for Luke that he was selected.”
Reeve said Allen has made tremendous progress during his time with the local club.
“He’s learned how to balance properly, skip and is also learning how to throw combination kicks and avoid kicks by his opponent,” Reeve said.
The Xavier instructor attended the ceremony and said it was an honour to attend and witness one of his athletes recognized for the award.
“To see one of our athletes get nominated is something, but to see him get a top award was unbelievable. It was a happy moment for our club.”
Loreen Allen said it was extremely emotional, but awesome, to watch her son receive such an honour.
“I was really, really proud of him and both Rob and I were very excited for him because it means a lot for his self-esteem,” Allen said.
“Luke’s involvement is taekwondo has made a huge difference in his life. With his coordination disorder simple things, like playing tag with other children, was very difficult for him.”
After Luke participated in several sports, the Allen’s followed through on a suggestion to try Taekwondo. The move paid benefits and Loreen said Luke was hooked on the sport from the beginning.
At the age of eight, Luke began going to his occupational therapist with goals he wanted to achieve. The Allen’s noted the structure and focus on individual improvement, along with a coach he admired, helped turn Luke’s image of himself around. He became determined to become the best he could be in taekwondo. Luke’s goals were all focused towards getting better in the sport.
“As Luke’s parents, we are very thankful for all taekwondo has done, and continues to do for our son,” Loreen Allen said.