Cayman Islands National Taekwondo Team members, Derrick Pascal & Leroy Rodriguez, recently had the opportunity to train at an Olympic Taekwondo Training Camp in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from February 10-16, along with 50 other participants from other Caribbean countries. The training camp was sponsored by the Pan American Taekwondo Union.
Derrick and Leroy are currently preparing for an Olympic Qualifier in Costa Rica on March 11/12, to attempt to qualify for the 2020 Olympic which will be held in Tokyo, Japan. (See Photo)
At the training camp, they were trained by world-class Taekwondo coaches, including Juan Miguel Moreno, a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic Silver Medalist, and Master Philippe from France who is Coach of the Peru National Team. (See Photo)
Initially, the athletes worked on agility, footwork and timing, then progressed to learning techniques to score points more efficiently, including counter-attacks, and also blocks. The final days of the camp were “Sparring Days”, with the focus on sparring and applying their techniques in competition.
Derrick states, “A typical day had us up at dawn, one hour of running drills, then an hour of conditioning, then evasive footwork, fighting counter-defense drills, kicking combinations including pad work, sparring etc. We did this every day with variations on above for six hours plus. We spent a lot of time on breaking down techniques. The training was intense and informative, and I look forward to working on the knowledge gained and passing this along to other students in Cayman.”
Leroy noted “The training they put us through was intense, 6+ hours a day for a week. We had the opportunity to train with Pan American and Olympic Champions. I took lots of notes and I am excited to bring back home what I learned and put it into practice!”
Before joining this Olympic Taekwondo Training Camp, Derrick and Leroy took part in The Caribbean Taekwondo Championships held in Trinidad on November 9, 2019. They both successfully brought home medals, Derrick winning Gold in Forms and Bronze in Sparring, and Leroy winning Silver in Sparring.
Master Steve Graham, President of the CI TKD Federation stated “we are very pleased and happy for both Derrick and Leroy to have this opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, and become Olympians, an opportunity we want to offer to all Caymanians.
David Reid, General Secretary for the CI TKD Federation added “Derrick and Leroy have been training consistently under Master Instructor Sua Kim, 4th Dan World Taekwondo Blackbelt from South Korea, since last August. I want to recognize our athletes and Master Kim for their hard work and dedication in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Qualifier in Costa Rica, and also the CI National Olympic Committee for their constant support.”