Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Taekwondo clubs from as far away as Calgary came to Slave Lake on March 23 to compete in a tournament.

The Second Annual AB Taekwondo Tournament drew 13 clubs to Slave Lake.

This was over double the number of clubs as the previous year. The first year, clubs came from six northern Alberta communities, says an October 25, 2023 Leader article, Athabasca, Grande Prairie, Mayerthorpe, Westlock, and Whitecourt.

All of these communities came for the second one.

In alphabetical order, the clubs are:

4 Point Taekwondo (Edmonton),
AB Taekwondo Club (Slave Lake),
Athabasca Champion Taekwondo (Athabasca),
Family Taekwondo Club (Westlock),
Grand Master KH Min Taekwondo (Edmonton),
Grande Prairie Taekwondo School (Grande Prairie),
Hankook Taekwondo (Edmonton),
JSC Taekwondo (Calgary),
Mayerthorpe Taekwondo (Mayerthorpe),
Onoway Champion Taekwondo (Onoway),
Red Deer Champion Taekwondo (Red Deer),
Scorpion Taekwondo (High Prairie), and
Whitecourt Taekwondo (Whitecourt).

Taekwondo Master Alex Briones and his wife Ava own AB Taekwondo in Slave Lake. They are very pleased with the results of the tournament.

“We did it again!” says Ava. “This was an amazing tournament! We had a wonderful time!”

AB Taekwondo had 43 local athletes compete, all of whom earned medals.

In taekwondo, coloured belts are ranked from lowest 10th Gup (degree) – white belt to highest 1st Gup – red belt with black stripe. These are followed by black belts.

Of these, 36 competed in coloured belts. Coloured belts ranged in age from six to 47 years old, with the majority between six and 12 years old.

Lamar Ali (11) competed in both 1st Gup – red belt black strip recreational and black belt sanctioned. Including her, eight local black belts competed.

From Slave Lake, three girls competed in high performance sparring – Lamar Ali (11), Alexa Briones (12) black belt, and Lana Ali (15) black belt.

This was Lamar’s first sanctioned competition.

She did sanctioned sparring, because she wants to go to nationals, says Ava.

July 6 to 7, 2024, Alexa, Lamar, and Lana will compete at nationals in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Other Slave Lake black belts were Erika Holden (18), Justin Chorney (14), Naomi Randall (15), Shayla Bolan (26), and Talus Minchau (15). The coloured belt athletes are too many to name.

Athletes competed in recreational sparring coloured belt and black belt, recreational poomsae (patterns) coloured belt and black belt, sanctioned sparring – black belt high performance, and sport poomsae black belt.

“We are extremely grateful to have a supportive community within our taekwondo club,” says Ava.

From Slave Lake the following referees took part – Evelyn Pacheco, Caelen Mackay, and Riley Flanagan.

Slave Lake coaches were Ava and Alex Briones, Keith Martin, Melissa Wakelin, Shayla Bolan, and Susan Mackay.

Slave Lake medical personnel also helped out – Dr. Keith Martin, Dr. Majeed Fouad, and paramedic Melissa Wakelin.

AB Taekwondo athletes with their medals from the Second Annual AB Taekwondo Tournament. This Slave Lake club hosted and competed at the event March 23 in Slave Lake Multi Rec Centre. Thirteen clubs competed at the tournament, over twice as many as the first one. Photo courtesy of AB Taekwondo.