Isabella Rachele’s unbeaten record will face its toughest test yet when she heads to the United States next month to contest the US Open Taekwondo Championships.By Damen Francis
Isabella Rachele’s unbeaten record will face its toughest test yet when she heads to the United States next month to contest the US Open Taekwondo Championships.
The 14-year-old has never lost on Australian soil, but she will line up in the 14-17 age group in poomsae and sparring at her first overseas event.
Rachele is one of three Shepparton Koryo Taekwondo Centre members making the trip to Las Vegas.
Brendon Leeder will hit the mat in the poomsae, while Rachele’s dad and instructor, Sammy Rachele, will also be in the sparring and poomsae events.
Rachele said it would be the first time he had participated in the US Open, but with more than 2000 competitors from more than 30 countries tipped to be involved, he was expecting plenty of fierce competition.
‘‘I took my eldest daughter to Korea (to compete) and I promised Isabella I would take her to a competition when she was ready and she’s chosen the US Open,’’ Rachele said.
‘‘This is going to be the test for her, we’ll see if we can finally find someone to kick her backside.
‘‘It’s more about going over there and not worrying about it, we all want to win, but it’s more about going over there, experiencing it, and giving it your best shot.
‘‘If we can come home with a medal, any sort of a medal, I think any of us will be happy.’’
Such has been the overseas expansion of taekwondo in recent years that traditional powerhouse Korea is no longer the other nation to fear, with Korean masters now producing quality exponents of the sport throughout the world.
The championships will run from February 19 to 23, with the technical discipline of poomsae up first, before the sparring begins under Olympic rules of fighting.
Rachele said the key to poomsae was concentration and attention to detail.
‘‘It’s very similar to a gymnastics routine, you get scored on your balance, your speed, your accuracy and other things to do with technique,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s the art of the martial art.
‘‘I get more nervous getting on the floor for poomsae than I do for fighting and I’m over 40 and they don’t have an over-40s category.
‘‘I’m going to be in with the 30-year-olds, so I’m training my backside off.’’
Leeder, who has also competed in Korea, said he was ‘‘just focused on doing the best I can’’ and was looking forward to the experience.
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