Yukon red belt strikes gold at nationals

Watson Lake native Cole Abou-Tibbett is confident he will one day represent Canada at the world taekwondo championships - if he continues to work hard. "One day I want to go to the worlds," he said.

Watson Lake native Cole Abou-Tibbett is confident he will one day represent Canada at the world taekwondo championships – if he continues to work hard.

“One day I want to go to the worlds,” he said. “If I train really hard, I will be.”

While those may sound like big words, Jordan Boudreau, Abou-Tibbett’s instructor at Prince George Family Taekwondo, reflects his attitude.

“With the focus and determination you can see at him at such a young age, already I can guarantee he is a future national champion and I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t make it to a world championships one day,” he said.

The 13-year-old, who currently lives in Prince George, BC, is producing more than predictions, he’s getting results.

Competing at the 2010 CTFI National Championships, held last weekend at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond, BC, the red belt won two medals, including a gold.

“It makes me feel really happy and it makes me feel really confident that I will win the next nationals,” said Abou-Tibbett.

Abou-Tibbett’s gold medal came in patterns (specific sequences of fundamental movements representing attacking and defending), performing the red-belt level pattern hwa-rang, consisting of 29 combined movements. His bronze, taking a win and then a loss, came in sparing.

“He has found something that he is naturally talented at, so it makes learning the sport easy and it also makes teaching him quite easy,” said Boudreau. “He’s super focused and he knows exactly what he wants to get out of his training, and he’s determined to get that.

“You can tell he focuses so much of his energy on making sure his skill level is top-notch.”

Abou-Tibbett took up the martial art about five years ago when he and his aunt moved from Watson Lake to Prince George. After a few years at a World Taekwondo Federation school that went under, Abou-Tibbett switched to Family Taekwondo, an International Taekwondo Federation based institute, a move that gave him troubles early on.

“We had to get him to adapt to our style,” said Boudreau. “It’s a lot more comparable to American style kickboxing, a lot more hands are involved with it, so that took a little bit. You could tell that he was frustrated, because he was used to winning, and came over and had to learn a new style.”

No stranger to hardware, Abou-Tibbett also won medals at the BC provincials in May and a bronze in patterns at the western Canadian championships in April.

To reach his goal of competing at the international level, Abou-Tibbett needs to obtain his black belt and turn 14, both of which could happen by the end of next June.

Keeping in mind someone who supported him from the get-go at white belt, Abou-Tibbett dedicated his performance last weekend to his late grandfather John Tibbett Sr., who passed away a year ago this month.

“He was a really big fan of mine and I really love him,” said Abou-Tibbett. “Whenever I go to a tournament, when I came back I gave my medals to him and my grandma.

“He really encouraged me and got me to train hard. And now that he’s gone I’m still training really hard for him.”

Abou-Tibbett would also like to thank His grandma Norah Abou-Tibbett, his uncle Peter Stone, the Kaska Dena Council and Kaska Horizon Ltd., all of whom supported him emotionally and financially.

“I decided to put him in a sport and the first thing I put him in was taekwondo, and the first day I put him in there, the instructor he had back then was really impressed with him,” said Abou-Tibbett’s aunt and guardian, Erika Abou-Tibbett. “Every tournament we go to he comes back with medals.

“And we’re really proud that we’re from the Yukon, so I always want people in the Yukon to know how well he’s doing even though we’re not up there right now.”

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