Murphy Youth Medal at Taekwondo National Championship
In July, four Murphy residents medaled in the U.S. Amateur Athletic Union Taekwondo National Championship. Naima Wasiq, who attends Hunt Elementary, won a gold medal and is National champion in Olympic Sparring in the age 8-9 intermediate, 55.1-67.0 lbs. female division. Katelyn Pryor, attends McMillen High School, won a gold medal and is National champion in Olympic Sparring in the age 12-14 intermediate, 72.9-90.4 lbs. female division. Naria Martinez-Amor, attends Murphy Middle School, won a gold medal and is National champion in Olympic Sparring in the age 12-14 intermediate, 90.5-103.6 lbs. female division. Nora Dolt attends Murphy Middle School, won a silver medal in Olympic sparring in the age 12-14 intermediate, 103.7-121.3 lbs. female division. This was Dolt’s second appearance in the AAU National Championships. She took the gold medal and was National Champion in her bracket last year. (She was in a different weight class this year.) All four of the medalists have attended Hunt Elementary. In order to compete at this competition, the athletes had to qualify at the state competition which was held in February.
Coach Greg Tubbs said that there are multiple reasons the athletes were able to reach this level of success. He said dedication, respectfulness and diligence to push through the ups and downs of training and competitions are all essential to earning these results. He said these athletes train hard. They can train up to three times a day for a month before this competition. Tubbs said, “I love what I do. I love to see the kids accomplish things while they are children so when they are older they don’t have regrets.”
Sharing her opinion of Coach Tubbs, Julia Pryor, Katelyn’s mother said, “He has a different attitude than other coaches. He is really positive, very calm and never belittles them.”
Tubbs defined Olympic Sparring, “It has been an Olympic sport since 1988. There are three, one-and-a-half minute rounds. They are kicking the body and head and punching the body. They are judged on a point scale. A head kick receives three points, body kicks receives two points and body punch receives one point. They cannot punch the face.” The athletes wear protective gear.
Wasiq started taking Taekwondo because her siblings were doing it. Her favorite aspect of the sport is making friends. She said she trained harder for the national competition than for other competitions. The national competition was a bigger competition than others she had attended. There were 15 people in her division. She said she felt very happy when she won gold and everyone was so supportive.
Pryor started taking Taekwondo two years ago because a friend was taking it and she wanted to give it a try. Her favorite aspect of the sport is kicking people in the head. She trained harder and faster for this competition. There were eight people in her division. She felt happy after winning gold and hearing her team cheering for her. She remembers wanting a hug after the final fight.
Amor started taking Taekwondo a year ago because she wanted to try a new sport. Her favorite aspect of the sport is kicking people hard. She incorporated a lot of running into her pre-competition training. There were 12 people in her division. She said she felt nervous before her fights because the other girls looked really good. She said she could hear her teammate Naima shouting her name during her final fight. She said it felt amazing to win gold.
Dolt started taking Taekwondo two years ago because her brothers were doing it. She enjoys kicking people in the head. There were 12 people in her division. She noticed the competition was more serious than in other competitions. She was happy with her results.
Pictured Above (left to right) Naima Wasiq, Naria Martinez-Amor, Coach Greg Tubbs, Nora Dolt and Katelyn Pryor.