Team Cayman, consisting of Derrick Pascal & Leroy Rodriguez, made a very strong showing at the recent Caribbean Taekwondo Championships held in Trinidad on November 9, 2019.
Derrick and Leroy have had the opportunity to train under two visiting female Master Instructors from Korea since they arrived in Cayman in August. Master Kim and Master Mun, both 4th Dan WT Taekwondo Black Belts, are former Korean National Team Members. The training was focused on competition, which includes: 1) Poomsae (Forms/ Patterns of defense and counter-attack motions) and 2) Kyorugi (Sparring/fighting).
Derrick competed in both Forms and Fighting in the Black Belt Adult Middle Weight Division, placing 1st in Forms and 3rd in Fighting.
Leroy competed in Fighting in the Under-Belt Adult Heavyweight Division, placing 2nd.
Derrick noted “The training they put us through was really tough, 3-4 hours each day Monday to Friday. Though the training was difficult, I am very happy with my performance, and I am excited about continuing to train hard with the Master Instructors to improve further for upcoming competitions.”
Leroy, added: “The competition in Trinidad was very tough, but it was great experience for us. It is difficult to judge the level of our progress in the gym, day by day, however, when we have the opportunity to compete against athletes from other countries, we really do find out how much progress we have made, and more importantly, what we need to work on! Next time I want to win gold.”
David Reid, who was the Team Coach, stated “Derrick and Leroy did extremely well, due to their hard training and also the quality of their training under the visiting Master Instructors. The experience gained in Trinidad was invaluable. The competition also gave us the opportunity to meet with athletes and coaches from other Taekwondo Schools around the Caribbean. We hope to visit and train with Taekwondo Schools in other countries, and vice versa, which will better prepare us for future competitions.”
Derrick and Leroy will continue their hard training under the Master Instructors until they return to Korea in late December. They are currently preparing for an Olympic Training Camp to be held in the Dominican Republic in January, in preparation for the Olympic Selection Championships for 2020, to be held in early March. The gold and silver medalists will get selected for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan.
David added “both Derrick and Leroy have the very real opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo next July. The Cayman WT (World Taekwondo) Taekwondo Federation, with the assistance and guidance of the Olympic Committee, is very excited to be able to provide this amazing opportunity to young Caymanians. Taekwondo is a sport for anyone and everyone. While natural athletic ability is helpful, it always comes down to hard work and dedication in the end. There are no shortcuts, nor any real barriers, to excelling in the sport.
Master Steven Graham stated “As President of the Cayman Islands TKD Federation (Sanctioned Governing Body for TKD in the Cayman Islands by WT - World TaeKwonDo), we would like to thank the World Peace Corps for sending the two Master Instructors along with the constant support of the CI National Olympic Committee who facilitated this program. I would like to thank David Reid, General Secretary of the CI TKD Federation, for all the hard work he has put in organizing the visit of the Korean Taekwondo Master Instructors, and also his effort in sharing their knowledge with the general public here in Cayman. I would also like to thank Ronald Simpson, Owner of Cayman TKD Academy, for donating training space allowing the training of the Cayman National Team.”