Skylar Park is gaining momentum as she prepares for her second Pan Am Games participation.
The Winnipeg native won her second straight gold medal, defeating 2023 world champion Nahid Kiyanichandeh of Iran in the women’s 57-kilogram final Tuesday at the Taiyuan World Taekwondo Grand Prix in China.
Park emerged victorious with a score of 2-1, securing valuable points in her quest to qualify for the Paris Olympics next year. Presently, she holds the fourth position in the world rankings.
Dave Harris, the executive director of Taekwondo Canada, stated that Park’s performance reflected her talent and determination.
Added high performance director, Dr. Allan Wrigley: “Skylar’s performance reflects the hard and dedication she, her coach [and dad Jae Park] and support team have been putting in. She was strong, resilient and adaptable throughout.
Skylar’s progress and performance have consistently improved during her journey towards qualifying for the Olympics. We are excited to witness her abilities at the upcoming Pan American Games scheduled for later this month.
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According to worldtaekwondo.org, the third and last round on Tuesday showcased intense action involving strong kicks and falls.
Trailing 7-5, Park drove Kiyanichandeh off the mat for a single point. With less than a second left in the match, the Canadian attacked and landed to the body for a one-point win as the shocked Iranian athlete dropped to her knees.
Both Ahreum Lee from South Korea and Tatiana Minina from Russia received bronze medals.
In the semifinals, Park, who is 24 years old, emerged victorious against Lee. Additionally, Park also defeated Luana Marton from Hungary, who is another world champion of this year, in the quarterfinals.
Park achieved first place and won a gold medal at the Pan American President’s Cup held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, two weeks ago.
She will try to improve upon her silver-medal performance at the 2019 Pan Am Games as one of nine Canadian taekwondo athletes at this year’s event in Santiago, Chile. The taekwondo competition runs Oct. 21-24.
Park, who was born into a family of 16 black belts, will be joined by her brothers, Taeku and Braven.
In Burnaby, B.C. in 2016, Skylar Park achieved first place in the 59 kg category at the world junior championships. She was expected to win a medal in her first Olympic appearance in Tokyo in 2021, specifically in the 57 kg event. However, she ended her journey in the quarterfinals.
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