competitor Naila Mohamed holds up the gold medals
she won at the Canadian and Pan Am Championships this
year. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
resident Naila Mohamed, 16, recently returned from the Pan-American
Taekowndo championships in Costa Rica with two medals including
a gold medal in the -42kg class in the Open Championship
and a silver medal at the same weight level in the Junior
qualified for the Pan-Am tournament after a grueling process
at the national championships in February in which she had
to fight six times in one day including three fights against
the same girl.
it was a double elimination format, Mohamed was given a
second chance after suffering her first loss. She made the
most of the opportunity by beating the same girl who had
defeated her in the earlier fight,in both the semi-final
and the final.
into the first fight way too confident and I went way too
fast and she took advantage of that, but in the next two
took things a lot slower and was more deliberate. I took
things one step at a time and one point at a time.”
to the Pan Am championships opened with competition at both
the Cadet and Junior levels. Unfortunately, Mohamed lost
her one and only fight against the only other competitor
at her weight level. The silver lining was a silver medal,
which Mohamed felt she didn’t earn.
left a bitter taste in her mouth and a deep desire to redeem
herself in the Open Championship the next day.
wanted to win badly. I didn’t go all that way to lose my
first fight and go home,” says Mohamed, who beat her Puerto
Rican opponent in the final 14 points to eight.
11 Cairine Wilson Secon-dary School student started taking
tae-kwondo lessons at the age of four. Her parents were
already members at the Phoenix Taekwnondo Academy which
operated out of the OAC at the time.
began competing in local tournaments four years ago, but
didn’t win her first gold medal until this year at nationals.
parents started me in taekwondo because it teaches you discipline
and respect and we didn’t think we would do any tournaments
until a few years ago when our instructor suggested I sould
try it out.”
is looking forward to competing in her final year as a junior
next year when the Junior World Championships will be held
in Burnaby, B.C.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)