Young Olympic hopefuls are honing their Taekwondo skills in Farmington as the competition heats up in Rio.
On Wednesday night, the women’s 49kg and men’s 58kg medal matches begin at 7 p.m.
Ceana Rodriguez will be one of the many people glued to the television watching.
Rodriguez started Taekwondo at age five and has since won numerous international competitions in Korea, Germany and Canada.
“My dream is to go to the 2020 Olympics and I am so close to it,” said Rodriguez. “I have always had this vision of walking through big doors and everybody screaming.”
Rodriguez is one of the dozens of students enrolled at the Olympic Taekwondo Academy in Farmington.
Head Master Kiye Cho teaches his students the techniques of breaking, form and sparring.
“It is all about teamwork and working together,” said Ezra Mendes of Burlington.
Those skills helped Gavin Engels win two gold medals recently at the National Championships.
“It was pretty good getting them, but I did have to work hard to get them. Master Cho helped me all along the way,” said Gavin Engels of Avon.
Master Cho is a two-time world champion. He says he enjoys watching Taekwondo on the Olympic stage as much as his students.
“It is very exciting to watch because Taekwondo is getting changed and now they are using electric sparring gear,” said Master Cho.
Despite there only being a few days left to take the Olympics in, the training will not end for hopefuls like Rodriguez. She will continue making sacrifices hoping to make it in 2020.
“Skipping school dances, not doing regular teenage activities, so complete dedication and training every single day,” said Rodriguez.
Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut