8 February 2024

Aussies Set to Conquer North America

A contingent of 65 Aussies will make their way to North America this week to contest the Canada Open in Vancouver, British Columbia, from February 8-10 before travelling to Reno, Nevada, for the US Open Championship, February 16-18.

Senior National Performance Centre (NPC) athletes, plus Senior and Junior Pathways athletes, will represent Australia in Kyorugi, providing significant opportunities and development experience. 

The Canada Open and US Open Championship mark the final competition window for Senior athletes eyeing Olympic selection before the Oceania Olympic Qualification event on April 6 in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The Combat Institute of Australia Senior squad, led by a National coaching team of Seok-hun Lee and Ryan Carneli, will see 11 NPC athletes take to the mats.

NPC Senior Team

Hot off a recent training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Pathways Team will compete in Kyorugi across Junior and Senior Divisions, providing our next generation of taekwondo athletes with vital development and experience.

The team will be led by Pathways coaches Jerry Moraitis, Ben Hartmann, Justine Sangalang, Ruth Hock, Safwan Khalil and Shane Whiteway, with Dr Joseph Tamer and Vincent Papandrea providing medical support and Emilia Crook as Team Manager.

While the senior team falls under CombatAUS' remit and its High-Performance program, Australian Taekwondo has made a financial investment in supporting its National Pathways Team thanks to the Australian Sports Commission and funding allocated to support travel costs for athletes and coaches heading to Vancouver and Reno.

Like many sports, the junior elite participation level and emerging seniors is vastly underfunded in Australia, which puts a significant financial strain on the NSO, athletes, and their families. Australian Taekwondo continues to lobby the Australian Government, through the Australian Sports Commission, to increase their investment in junior and emerging elite pathways so that we can provide more support.

Our investment continues to enhance coaching capabilities through the AIS' Elevate Coach Program, which offers professional development opportunities for Performance Pathway Coaches and has seen Abby Sangalang and Jerry Moraitis, plus four other Pathways coaches, graduate from the program in the last four years.

National Pathways Team

In addition to our athletes competing, our referees will also be represented with Queensland's Darryl Green making the trip to Vancouver followed by Reno, where he will be joined by Victoria's Ali Rahimi to referee at the US Open Championship.

Like many international events, Australian Taekwondo has clubs and members who register and compete independently from Australian Taekwondo. Therefore, other Australian athletes who are not part of the NSO delegation will potentially be competing in these events. This also extends to Kyorugi and Poomsae referees. We wish all athletes, coaches and referees attending the Canada Open and US Open Championship across all disciplines, the very best and we look forward to seeing their performances.

We acknowledge that our office is spread across many traditional lands, and we pay respect to all traditional owners of these lands and elders past and present.