Three members of the Xavier Taekwondo Club will compete in the Michigan Midwest Taekwondo Championships Nov. 21 in Warren.
Representing the local club are Emily Stewart, Emma MacDonald and Maggie MacDonald.
Jeremy Reeve, head coach of the Xavier Club, said the competition will attract approximately 500 athletes. Last year, the event featured competitors from the United States, Canada, Costa Rica and Bolivia.
“We haven’t had our athletes participate before, but have heard about the great experience other athletes have enjoyed there,” he said.
Reeve said the Michigan competition will feature former national team members, noting in 2014 Costa Rica brought some of their Olympic team members.
“This is a double-elimination event, so our athletes will get at least two matches,” he said.
“Emily and Emma will compete in both the junior and senior matches, so they will get at least four matches, which makes the trip worthwhile. Maggie will be in the senior division.”
“We are using this tournament as a preparation for the 2016 Canadian Open, which takes place in February in Montreal.”
Seventeen-year-old Emma MacDonald is a secondary black belt and will fight in the 125-pound weight class. It will be her final competition as a junior athlete, which includes individuals 17-years and-under.
Reeve said he expects MacDonald to perform well in the junior division, while gaining experience at the senior classification. This will be her first time fighting in the senior category. Her most recent top-end competition was at the 2015 Canadian Open in Toronto, where she lost out in the first round.
“Our expectation for Emma, in junior, is to win a medal,” Reeve said.
Stewart, a secondary black belt, will compete in the 135-pound weight-class. The 16-year-old won bronze at the 2015 Canadian Open.
“Emily has some previous international experience,” Reeve said.
“I expect her to come away with a medal in the junior competition, and will fight for the first time in seniors. We’ll see how her performance measures up there.”
Maggie MacDonald, who competed in the 2015 U. S. Open in Orlando, will fight in the senior category. MacDonald, a 19-year-old, dropped a two-point decision to the Olympic silver medallist from China at the competition.
“I think Maggie has a good chance to medal,” Reeve said.
Reeve said the level of experience garnered by the three Xavier athletes has helped them tremendously over the past few years.
“They’ve competed a lot in Atlantic Canada in the last 18 months and have all fought internationally as well,” he said.
“They are currently training five days a week in the gym, along with conditioning workouts. I’m expecting their physical condition to be one of their best assets at the competition.”