One 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment soldier, did his regiment and country proud after earning multiple medals at the 2017 International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Pan-American Championships.
Longtime Taekwon-Do enthusiast, Cpl. Konstantinos Athanasopoulo, placed second in sparring, second in patterns, and third in power breaking while competing at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from July 28-30.
“[I was] excited, scared, one big ball of emotions. I’m thankful for if it wasn’t for my instructor and trainers, I wouldn’t be able to compete at that level,” said Athanasopoulo.
Taekwon-Do has been a part of Athanasopoulo’s life since he was 12 years old and he continued to practice the Korean martial art through his late teens. In his youth, he competed locally, provincially and internationally.
“When I was younger, it taught me some core values that I still carry on today,” remembered Athanasopoulo.
The infantry member then took a break from the sport for a number of years until recently when he found a club in Petawawa and started training again.
Although he took part in various competitions in his youth, Athanasopoulo had never competed in an international competition like the Pan-American Championships.
The Championships featured representation from nearly ten countries, and Athanasopoulo’s division featured competitors from all over including Puerto Rico and the U.S.
The biggest surprise while competing for Athanasopoulo during the Championships was the power breaking competition.
“I thought I was going to do lousy, but obviously I walked out with a medal,” said Athanasopoulo.
Now he is getting ready to take part in nationals in February with his sights on competing at the world-level next July in Argentina.