Vernon’s Brianna Li, 16, has officially returned home from Inzell, Germany, sporting two medals from the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships.
Li represented Canada for a second time at the World Championships; she also competed for Canada in Ireland in 2017. The Championships hosted 1,234 elite black belt athletes from 64 countries over five days of action-packed competition from April 24 – 28. Li was one of three athletes — and the only female — from B.C. to qualify.
“This time I competed in five events and I did much better this time,” she said.
Li took home a silver medal as a member of the Junior Girls Team in the Team Special Technique and a bronze in Team Power Test (breaking). She also represented Canada in Individual Hyper-weight Sparring, Team Sparring and Individual Special Technique but was unable to reach the podium in those events.
Li has the distinction of being one of only a handful of Canadian athletes to reach the podium twice. Canada finished the tournament with one Gold, two Silver and eight Bronze.
“The level at the World Championship level continues to increase year after year,” said Vernon’s David White, Canadian national coach. “Our Canadian athletes work incredibly hard at a significant personal and financial cost to be able to compete at the highest level in our sport. We are very proud of our young athletes who show amazing courage and perseverance in pursuit of their goals.”
White, who is also Li’s local coach at Sundance Martial Arts, attended the previous championship; both affirmed that having White on the floor, coaching, made a difference for Li.
“It was nice to have my coach on the floor because his coaching style is different than other coaches and I’m used to his coaching style,” said Li.
“Having experienced it once before, she was able to understand what it was like and was able to prepare for it a lot better. The first time around, as a competitor, you don’t know what to expect because you haven’t competed at that high a level before,” said White, who also noted that Li’s team, with which she earned a medal, has a lot of potential.
“You’re watching this young group and start thinking that if we’re able to do this as a young, rebuilding team, you start looking a few years in the future and if this cohesive, solid group can stick together, I think Canada is going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
While White expressed how going to a second tournament is remarkable, he noted how rare it is for an athlete to attend three World Championships as a junior. Li will be eligible to qualify again for a third time in 2021, set to take place in Finland.
“She will actually still be a junior for the next World Championships, which is awesome because now she will very much be a veteran at the next one and I think that’s when we will really see her shine, because she’ll be a little older and much more experienced,” he said. “To be on the podium twice is pretty awesome and there’s only one direction from here. It’s just going to keep going up. As long as she keeps motivated and the perseverance is there, we will go for even more medals next time.”
Li flew home Thursday, May 2, and was already back in the gym Saturday to begin training for her next competition.
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