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Nine ECTC Athletes Represent US Team at First World University Taekwondo Festival

Carissa Fu

Tournament Committee Co-Chair

Muju, South Korea - (Nov. 4-8, 2018) The Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) fielded nine of the 17 athletes to participate in the inaugural World University Taekwondo Festival in Muju, Korea. According to the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) who sponsored the team, “hundreds of athletes from multiple countries including Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Ghana and USA gathered to compete in both poomsae and sparring. In addition to the competition, activities promoting cultural exchange were held, including team building, hiking, and joint workouts.” The competition and cultural activities exchange took place November 4-8, 2018.


The ECTC was well represented with nine athletes from three schools, earning six medals. Athletes included  Nina Anwar (MIT), Renee Zhao (MIT), Jean Chow (Columbia), and Frank Fang (MIT) for poomsae and Rose Popma (U. Michigan), Amanda West (U. Michigan), Kate Velguth (U. Michigan), and Catherine Zhao (Columbia) for sparring. Rachel Connick (MIT) competed in both poomsae and sparring. All members medaled at the 2018 National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in order to be eligible for the team.


Catherine Zhao described her experience at the competition,  “From being surrounded by world-class athletes from USA and other countries, to be able to train in Taekwondo-won, I felt like it was somewhat surreal. Starting my Taekwondo experience as a freshman in college, I could never imagine myself in the mecca of Taekwondo much less representing USA.”


In poomsae competition, the female team of Anwar, Zhao, and Connick earned bronze. In the individual division, Fang finished in the quarterfinals, Anwar in Round of 16, Renee Zhao and Chow in Round of 32.  


Anwar noted about the poomsae competition format, “[It] was different from ECTC and Collegiate Nationals – we weren’t told which poomsae we needed to perform until right before we entered the mat! It was my first experience with this format, so I was extra nervous while waiting for my turn. But my experience from competing so often at ECTC tournaments helped get me into the zone as soon as I bowed on the mat.”


In sparring competition, Popma and West earned gold in -67kg and +67kg, respectively while Connick and Catherine Zhao earned silver in the -57kg and +67kg, respectively. Women’s team sparring comprised of West, Velguth, and Connick earned gold.


“Even though I've graduated and no longer compete in ECTC, staying in the same geographic area has helped me maintain my connections to the ECTC,” said Fang. “My coaches and teammates from the ECTC have both motivated and supported me to continue practicing taekwondo after graduation. During the trip, I was happy that the nine of us from the ECTC were able to help each other out in a foreign country, cheer each other on with shouts of "USA", and become closer friends.”

For full results, please read the NCTA news release.


(From left to right: Catherine Zhao, Jean Chow, Renee Zhao, Frank Fang, Rachel Connick, Amanda West, Rose Popma, Kate Velguth, and Nina Anwar.)

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