USA Taekwondo National Qualifier and National Poomsae Team Trials to be held May 20-22 at Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center
USA Taekwondo, the national governing body for the sport of taekwondo in the U.S., in conjunction with the Buffalo Sports Commission, will hold a national qualifier and national poomsae team trials at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center in Buffalo on May 20-22.
Niagara University graduate Bill Kellick, '89, is the media coordinator for the event. He is the director of communications for USA Taekwondo.
The national qualifier is the third of four national qualifying events hosted by USA Taekwondo for 2011. More than 400 athletes, ranging in age from 6-65, are expected to compete in both forms (poomsae) and sparring disciplines. The competition will begin at 9 a.m. each day. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Adult (13-59) tickets are $10/day. Children (6-12) and seniors (60-plus) are $7/day. Kids 5 and under are admitted free of charge.
The national qualifiers are qualification events for those athletes interested in competing in the World Class division at the 2011 USA Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships and the 2011 USAT National Taekwondo Championships. Each of the top four black belt athletes per sparring weight class in the male divisions and the top four black belt athletes in the female sparring divisions at each qualifier will qualify for the World Class sparring division at the USA Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships and the USAT National Championships (June 28-July 3 in San Jose, Calif.). The Junior Olympics and National Championships lead into team trials for national teams later in the year.
Other USAT National Qualifiers held in 2011 are in San Diego, Calif. (March 12-13), Arlington, Texas (April 23-24), and the ESPNRise Girls Festival at the Wide World of Disney Sport Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (June 2-5). There are also numerous state championships that serve as qualifiers for the Junior Olympic and National Championships.
The National Poomsae Team Trials will also take place over the weekend and will decide the U.S. National Team that will compete at the sixth World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Vladivostok, Russia, July 29-31.
Six members of the 2010 U.S. Junior National Team will compete in this weekend's national qualifier, including Justin Bretz (Hilliard, Ohio), Kathy Rodriguez (Reseda, Calif.), Nicolas Silva (Milford, Mass.), Merissa Pico (Fort Lee, N.J.), Emmanuel Fountain (Norfolk, Va.) and Adrienne Ivey (Ashburn, Va.). Silva won the senior finweight division at this year's U.S. Open and also captured a bronze medal in the junior featherweight division.
The National Poomsae Team Trials will feature three-time world medalist Dure Chang (Anchorage, Alaska) who won individual silver medals in 2007 and 2009 and a bronze in 2008, as well as 2010 world silver medalist Barbara Brand (Sacramento, Calif.). Brand will also be competing in the team event with her world bronze medal winning teammates from 2008, Anacleta Thorne (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Tara Zielenski (Sacramento, Calif.)