Islands’ First Tae Kwon Do Tournament
Refereed and Judged by a World Champion

July 1st, 2009
by Thomas Tomczyk

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Veteran Tae Kwon Do fighters show their skills (Photo: Angela Agnew)

Veteran Tae Kwon Do fighters show their skills (Photo: Angela Agnew)

World Tae Kwon Do Open Champion, Andrea Erazo, 18, served as a judge at Roatan’s first Tae Kwon Do competition at Esbir Bilingual School in Coxen Hole on Saturday June 13. The Island Tigers Tae Kwon Do School from French Harbor, Escuela de Tae Kwon Do Kumgang from Coxen Hole, and three Tae Kwon Do schools from San Pedro Sula competed in the all day event that included participants aged four to mid-forties.

“I am so happy that in Roatan now this sport is touching many people’s lives,” said Erazo, who grew up studying Tae Kwon Do under her coach and father, Guillermo Erazo.

Kids bundled in soft helmets, thick chest pads, and arm, leg and foot pads took turns kicking and punching each other for two, one to one-and-a-half minute rounds. Opponents were paired based on age, weight and belt color. Combat was alternated with poomsay, an event where participants perform a routine to demonstrate different kicks, punches and movements. There were adult events as well, but the majority of the 30-plus fights were between youths.

Maura Doherty, an American living in Sandy Bay, watched her son, Alec Demko, 8, compete. “We moved from a place with very organized activities to a place with hardly any,” Dunbar said of her move from the US to Roatan last year. She was happy to find an activity that her son enjoys and that gives him self-confidence, body control and discipline.

Michelle Barrios, founder of Island Tigers and Mauricio Borjas, founder of Kumgang, both studied under Guillermo Erazo in San Pedro Sula before opening schools on Roatan. Two of Barrios’ daughters were red belts when the family moved to the island and she worried about completing their Tae Kwon Do education. She trained them herself and with the support of her coach decided to open a school on Roatan. Island Tigers currently has 40 students aged three to 11. Kumgang’s students range from seven to adult.

Island Tigers took first place in the tournament with 13 gold medals in combat and poomsay. Escuela Kumgang came in a close second with 12 gold medals. Kumgang San Pedro Sula, sister school to the one in Coxen Hole, won third place.

Tae Kwon Do students from Roatan also travel to competitions throughout Honduras. Kumgang took first place and Island Tigers second at a tournament in San Pedro Sula this year. They hope to bring more competitions to Roatan and continue competing nationally and abroad. “This sport can bring prestige to the island,” said Andrea Erazo. [/private]

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