WINNIPEG – Skylar Park earned her black belt at the tender age of only seven.
10 years later and Park is now a world champion. With over 800 athletes from 102 different countries competing, Park claimed Canada’s only gold medal at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Burnaby, B.C. She not only won her 59 kg weight class but also received the MVP award for all female competitors.
“Probably one of the most exciting moments of my life.” said Park. “It was amazing to be out there and to be able to win the gold medal on home soil.”
Park, 17, picked up the sport as soon as she could walk and martial arts just runs in her blood. Her father, Jae Park, runs the family owned Do Jang, the Tae Ryong Park Academy where both her grandfather and mother are also instructors.
“My whole family does taekwondo.” Park said. “Everyone’s a black belt except one of my cousins who’s testing for a black belt soon and my grandma, but she says she doesn’t need a black belt cause she’s got her whole family.”
“One of the mottoes we have at the TRP Academy is the family that kicks together, sticks together.” said Jae.
Skylar spends about 20 hours on the mat per week with one big goal in mind, representing Canada at the 2020 Olympic games.
“That’s been my goal from the beginning, a gold medal at the Olympics.” Skylar said.
“She has to win at everything, she’s very competitive.” said Jae. “I don’t know where she gets it from, people say me, but ever since she was young she said I want to win an Olympic gold in taekwondo.”
She may just get that chance in four years time.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.