After 10 years, Aruba wins medals in taekwondo competition Panamericano Cadet

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Recently Aruba’s name was heard loudly in Costa Rica, during the taekwondo competition Panamericano Cadet, where two athletes won a bronze medal after ten years without managing this feat in a Panamericano Cadet competition. Our reporter had a chat with coach Monica Pimentel from Impact Taekwondo Aruba, who coached the athletes representing Aruba in Costa Rica. She told us how the competition went, how the preparation went, and what are the next steps for our athletes.

Pimentel says that the competition in Costa Rica went really well, with athletes Kianna Krosendijk and Anabella Fernandes representing Aruba in the category of 12 to 14 years.
In this category, Fernandes won a bronze medal in the category of 55 kilo. “It’s great for Aruba because the last time we won a Panamerican medal in Cadet, it was I think about ten years ago”, Pimentel mentioned.

She commented that this was an unexpected surprise, albeit a nice one, seeing how recently Aruba just came out of the Covid Pandemic, and for the kids to go compete in a competition of this magnitude, they weren’t expecting to come home with any medals, because it was also the first time that the kids were competing in such a big event. “For us, it’s a great achievement and also a beautiful surprise.”

Aside from Fernandes’ bronze medal in the category 12-14 years, 55 kilo, both athletes managed to snag a bronze medal in the competition ‘open tournament’, which is a ranked tournament, in the category of 59 kilo.

Regarding the athletes preparation, Pimentel explains that seeing how the kids aren’t that young anymore and are in an older age category, the hours of training increased and this included that they had to train twice a day, once in the morning before going to school, and once after school, some days.

“This was a change for them, but even so, it’s time when you become older that your amount of training becomes more. The preparation was more intense than what they were used to, but I’m glad they took this challenge and together with their parents we went for it. If they have to get up early, the coaches and parents also have to wake up early every day. It’s everyone’s sacrifice”, Pimentel added.

Already it was announced that the next Panamerican championship will take place next year in February, in Las Vegas. Pimentel highlights that they’re hoping to be able to win another medal or come with a better result next year.

Preparation for next year started early as well. Pimentel commented that they’ve planed, taking advantage of the summer vacation, to take the kids to a training camp in Mexico and see if they can partake in another preparatory competition before the championship itself.

Regarding the difference between attending a training camp abroad or having complete preparation in Aruba, Pimentel explained that in Aruba there isn’t a lot of ‘fogeo’ (friendly matches), something that is not only for taekwondo but other sports as well. Lack of fogeo means there isn’t a lot of competition for the kids to fight each other in practice, and this is why the part of training abroad is very important in the kids’ preparation. “This way they get the opportunity to practice with other people and gain confidence. I think it’s better if the kids have more fogeo”, Pimentel finalized.