Fourteen-year-old Aidan MacDonald, Xavier Taekwondo, won bronze at the Pan American Taekwondo Championships Sept. 20 to 21 in Queretaro, Mexico. MacDonald, a first-degree Black Belt, has been competing in the sport for the past four years.
MacDonald, the 2012 national silver medalist and the 2011 bronze medalist, grabbed a spot on the Canadian team with a gold medal performance at the Canada Open Championships in Toronto last May. The teen scored a 6-3 victory over Sydney Stofanoff in the gold medal match.
Taekwondo Canada sent its largest delegation ever to an event and the Canadian contingent responded with an impressive performance, including four gold, five silver and four bronze medals acquired in Poomsae and seven gold, seven silver and 12 bronze won in sparring.A
This year the Pan American Championships included the first ever official Cadet competition in the PATU region. For many Canadian athletes this was their first National Team experience.
MacDonald competed in the Cadet Bantam weight class of 33 to 37 kgs, opening with a competitor from Honduras in quarter-final action.
Xavier instructor Jeremy Reeve said MacDonald started well, scoring 10 points in her first 15 seconds, connecting with two face kicks that each scored three points. She added a spinning back kick to the face that accounted for four points. MacDonald outscored her opponent 11-0 in the match.
“Dominating an international match 11-0 was amazing and then to fight a hometown athlete and take her to overtime was unbelievable. There was a crowd of about 5,000 people all cheering against her, so that was a great performance.”
In her second match MacDonald faced an opponent from Mexico with the fight ending 0-0 at the end of regulation time. In overtime, MacDonald fell 1-0 with the hometown fighter moving on the win the championship.
“It was a hard fight,” MacDonald said.
“Unfortunately, I lost in overtime. We kicked at the same time, but she hit me first and that scored the point.”
MacDonald said competing in a high-caliber tournament was pretty nerve-wracking but once she starting fighting she settled down.
“You have to believe in your training,” she said.
MacDonald said a trip to the World Championships is her next goal. The tournament will be held next year in China.
The Xavier athlete also participated in the Mexico Open tournament, capturing gold in her division.
MacDonald hit the mat in the championship fight against an opponent from Mexico, garnering top spot with an 11-1 win.
“Aidan had a strong start to the match, scoring a face kick within the first five seconds,” Reeve commented.
“She was in control throughout the match.”
Reeve said MacDonald is a hard-working and goal oriented athlete, who is enjoying phenomenal success this year.
“In January, Aidan finished second at the national championships and in May won gold at the Canada Open, her first international event. With her strong performance in Mexico it shows her improvement and that her hard work is paying off.”
The coach said MacDonald is very fast for her weight class but must work on her power.
MacDonald is a multi-sport athlete and in November won the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation junior girls’ cross country championship. She trains five days a week in cross country and works out four times a week with Taekwondo.
She said the sports complement each other very well.
“Cross country really helps with my endurance in Taekwondo and Taekwondo, with the work ethic and strength needed, helps me in cross country,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald will return to action in Oct.12, competing in the Xavier Taekwondo tournament at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School. The Canadian Junior national championships are slated for Montreal in November.
“Our goal is for Aidan, who now moves into the 15 to 17 age division, to win Junior Nationals and then look forward to the Junior Worlds scheduled for May,” Reeve said.