The Pan American Sports Organization was quick to solve the problems by Venezuelan athletes who did not have the resources to travel to important tournaments such as the Pan American Taekwondo Championship in the Dominican Republic, a competition that qualifies athletes to the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.
Venezuelan taekwondo athletes will now compete at the Continental Qualifying tournament for the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, thanks to the support of Panam Sports and the Venezuelan Olympic Committee, two organizations that came together to secure tickets for 14 Venezuelan athletes.
The Pan Am Taekwondo Championships, taking place from March 6-8 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will determine the final qualifiers in the disciplines of Poomsae and Kyorugi to Americas’ largest multisport event this July in Lima, Peru. Lima 2019 will feature the eighth taekwondo tournament ever held at the Pan American Games since the sport’s inclusion to the Games at Indianapolis 1987.
"For us, the support we’ve experienced by the Venezuelan Olympic Committee and Panam Sports is fundamental because it allows us to go back to participating internationally after a long time of not being able to, since the Barranquilla 2018 CAC Games," said Hung Ki Kim, President of the Venezuelan Taekwondo Federation.
"We are extremely thankful to both of these organizations for their involvement and efforts. It makes me proud that Panam Sports takes us into account, especially while facing the incredible difficulties we have had to go through to obtain the resources to participate at this important event. Our taekwondo has history at the Pan American Games, with athletes like Arlindo Gouveia, Carlos Rivas, Nohemar Leal, Dalia Contreras, Luis Noguera and many others that have brought honor to our tri-colored flag," Kim, the man who helped bring the martial art to Venezuela, continued.
"We are very thankful for professor Eduardo Alvarez (President of Venezuelan Olympic Committee) and Panam Sports and we are committed to our athletes giving their best performance."
The national Kyorugi team features Virginia Dellan (-49kg), Adriana Martinez (-57kg), Adanys Cordero (-67kg), Carolina Fernandez (+67kg), Yohandri Granados (-58kg), Edgar Contreras (-68kg), Carlos Rivas (-80kg) and Luis Adelso Alvarez (+80kg).
The Pan American Taekwondo Union has decided to give 12 qualifying spots per weight class in Kyorugi, with the exception of Women’s +67kg division which will only have eight athletes competing in Lima.
Poomsae will make its Pan Am Games debut at Lima 2019 and Venezuela will seek to be a part of this historical with athletes such as: Alvy Piña, Brayan Gonzalez, Ali Ziade, Paola Farias, Fabiola Paredes, all athletes who have complied with all the selection requirements of the Venezuelan Taekwondo Federation. Their most recent results were placing fifth and sixth in the Individual Freestyle competition at the Barranquilla 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.
The top six Freestyle teams of the Americas will be present in Peru this July, which promises to be an exciting and difficult competition for the athletes who qualify.
Para-Taekwondo is a discipline that has also been added to the Paralympic Games of Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. Orlando Figueroa, fresh off the Antalya World Championships in Turkey, will be the only Venezuelan who will attempt to book his ticket for the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games in the K43 (-63kg) category.
The technical team for Venezuela is composed of Professor Seong Hoon Kim (technical director), and trainers Luis Noguera and Algimiro Mejias, and the great Grand Master Hung Ki Kim, who is also President of Fevetaekwondo.
Venezuela is currently ranked fifth place in the historic taekwondo rankings of the Pan American Games, with success at Indianapolis 1987, Havana 1991, Mar del Plata 1995, Winnipeg 1999, Santo Domingo 2003, Rio de Janeiro 2007, Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015, always as one of the most powerful nations.
The team has been training at least two, sometimes three times a day, at the Centro Nacional in Puerto La Cruz and they will travel to Dominican Republic on March 3rd.
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