Three Cranbrook athletes are getting ready to represent Team Canada at the 2019 USA World Championships.
The martial arts tournament will be held in Las Vegas from June 28-30 as athletes from all over the world compete against each other.
Katelyn Cuthbert, 14, Isabella Atherton, 11, and Aaron Kim, 10, are students at Evolution Martial Arts Cranbrook who has the opportunity to compete against the best worldwide.
“We are all here as a team, and we are cheering for each other. No matter what happens we are happy for each other. I think we stand out by the way we do our things because others do it differently and we have a unique way of doing it,” said Atherton.
The group, who have been practicing together for awhile says their close relationship will help them at this tournament.
The athletes each had to earn two medals at PMA Open Karate tournaments to earn their position on Team Canada.
“I was really excited because Taekwondo, you only have an [couple] of tournaments throughout the year, and now you have this big tournament that can start you off a career in martial arts. I was really excited because I always wanted to be on Team Canada since I heard of it,” said Cuthbert.
The excitement was the sentiment by all of the athletes because of the hard work they have put in.
Cuthbert and Atherton both have their black belt and have been training for eight years. While Kim has earned his blue belt and has been training for more than a year.
“I like that it challenges us,” said Atherton about why she has put in the commitment, but also likes the fact she knows what to do if she is in a dangerous situation and can protect herself.
Kim notes that initial feeling when he started at the club helped him gain a love for the sport.
“As I got a uniform and went up belts I felt way more comfortable,” he said.
Representing Canada will be a highlight for all three of the martial arts athletes, but they hope it’s only the beginning.
“I’ve always wanted to represent Team Canada, and it’s mind blowing that I’m going to do that in my life,” said Cuthbert. “It will be so amazing to say I was in Team Canada, I did it, I competed, I may or may not have got a medal.”
To prepare for the big tournament the athletes are working out and continuing to practice.
At the tournament, they will be competing in multiple categories including point sparring, patterns, continuous sparring, team patterns and more.
This will be the biggest tournament for all three of them as they will get to meet thousands of competitors from Korea, Mexico, Brazil and more at the event.
The athletes are fundraising/ looking for sponsors to help with the costs of going to the tournament, and they hope to be able to bring one of their coaches with them.
More information about their fundraising efforts can be found by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.