Two Red Deer athletes have secured spots in Taekwondo for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Two Red Deer athletes have secured spots in Taekwondo for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Red Deer athletes qualify for Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru

The official Pan American Games will be held from July 26th to Aug. 11th

Two Red Deer athletes from Master Rim’s Taekwondo have secured spots in Taekwondo for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

The Pan Am Games, which are held every four years, takes place July 26th to Aug. 11th.

On March 4th, athletes Mark Bush and Valerie Ho, along with Team Canada Head Coach and Owner of Master Rim’s, Master Seoungmin Rim, journeyed to the Dominican Republic to compete in the 2019 Pan American Games Qualification Tournament, which is how it was determined that they qualified for the Games in Peru.

If all goes well, the two would be competing in Poomsae (forms) at the Games.

Bush, who won the bronze medal at the World Poomsae Championships in 2016 in Lima, Peru, is excited about the opportunity.

“It feels a lot more earned than other competitions. Being able to participate in this multi-sport event is much more uplifting than if it was just taekwondo,” said Bush.

He started in the sport when he was 10 years old and has been at Master Rim’s since the beginning.

He is currently the head instructor at the northwest Master Rim’s location, running and managing the classes there.

Leading up to the competition, Bush said he needs to maintain all his skills, improving his vertical jumping side kick, making his multiple kicks more defined and making his grading spin at 900 as opposed to 720 among other things.

“I want to focus on the recognized Poomsae aspect of it, so I have to go back to the basics to sharpen things up.”

What he likes most about the sport is the team aspect of it.

“You need to rely on other people to motivate you and encourage you and inspire you, but it’s nice to see how you can develop yourself. I look back at videos of myself and pictures of myself and accomplishments of past years and comparing it to now, it’s a surreal feeling of just seeing how much I’ve accomplished with myself,” he said.

As for Ho, who currently attends Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, she is working hard at earning her spot.

“It’s really exciting and I really want to go Lima but I have to really earn my spot,” she said.

Ho originally had a few friends who were in Taekwondo, which prompted her to get involved, so she began her training in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since.

“I like the challenge, it’s also physical and mental because you have to think of everything you do and it has to be very precise.”

Ho’s biggest accomplishment so far was going to Worlds in November. She got sixth in team.

“I think that was really good, even for sixth,” she said.

To prepare for Peru, Ho said she is training just about every day and has to make sure she is physically fit enough and that her stamina is good going forward.