With only five competitions under her belt, 12-year-old Mikah Powell from Fort St. John went to Hawaii for the 13th Annual Maui Open Taekwondo Championship and returned home with a gold medal.
Powell was one of 300 fighters who accepted the invitation to attend the tournament from all over the world. She won the gold medal in her age group for board breaking, as well as a silver medal in sparring and a silver in poomsae.
“I don’t even know what to say, I had never got the gold in board breaking before and it was really exciting,” said Powell, who described the tournament as being a lot of fun.
Accompanying Powell to Maui was Jody Mather, her step-dad and a coach at Red Dragon Martial Arts, where she trains. Mather had been to the tournament once before, in 2006, and was thrilled he and Mikah had a chance to go.
“It’s fantastic. Everything there is so much more exciting, it’s really incredible,” Mather said.
Mather was proud of how Powell performed, given the tournament is a bit different than the local competitions Powell has attended in B.C. and Alberta.
“She fought really hard, and it’s a whole different scene there. They’re really into the sport of taekwondo fighting, whereas our background is more traditional,” Mather said.
For now, Powell will get back to her regular training routine, and may attend a tournament in Las Vegas that she has been invited to.
She said she is really enjoying the journey competing in taekwondo.
“I really like that I’m doing it and that I’m not doing it for anyone else except for myself.”