Seventeen-year-old Aidan MacDonald, a member of the Xavier Taekwondo Club, will represent Canada at the World Junior Taekwondo Championships, Nov. 16-20, in Burnaby, B.C.
MacDonald will compete in the Under-46kg weight class for 15 to 17-year-olds.
Jeremy Reeve, coach of the Xavier Club, said the competition will attract more than 800 athletes in 20 men’s and women’s weight classifications.
Each country is permitted to send one athlete per division and Reeve expects 45 to 50 competitors in MacDonald’s classification.
He noted MacDonald is the first Antigonish native to represent Canada in the World Junior Championships since 2004, when Charlie Mason participated.
MacDonald, who last represented Canada at the Pan American championships in 2013, where she took bronze, is excited about the upcoming opportunity.
“This is my first time competing at the world’s,” she said.
“I qualified with a win at nationals in Calgary in May. It’s going to be exciting to represent Canada again. Not everyone gets to do that.”
The teen said she has changed her fighting strategy since the Pan Am Games, adding her overall performance has improved.
Reeve said MacDonald is more hungry now in the ring, noting she is more aggressive in her attack, continually looking to score until the fight is over.
MacDonald, a Grade 11 student-athlete at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, has, along with the Xavier competitive team, been training very hard in preparation for the competition. She credits her training partners with assisting her in her training sessions. MacDonald works out five days a week.
The teen, who averages two big competitions a year, along with three or so smaller ones, is also involved in cross country running and track and field. She won the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation cross country title, Oct. 24, in competition in Yarmouth.
“My running gives me the cardio I need for Taekwondo,” MacDonald said.
“I also use my cut kick a lot, so that’s another one of my big assets.”
MacDonald will be coached by Taekwondo Canada national team coach Michelle Gee at the world championships, noting it will be an adjustment fighting without long-time mentor Reeve.
“Jeremy knows me well, knows what I’m going to do, so having someone there who really doesn’t know much about me will be an adjustment,” she said.
Reeve expects MacDonald to do well at the event, noting the goal is to reach the medal podium.
“Aidan’s height and her speed will definitely be her strengths,” he said.
“She has to stay focused for the whole competition, because sometimes when the competition is five days long, it gets a little overwhelming. If you have five or six matches in the event, you have to stay focused on the match in front of you, not the one two or three ahead. You also can’t let any of the outside distractions get into your head.”