By Jackson Russell
A WANDONG youngster has taken the Australian Taekwondo National Championships by storm, bringing home three gold medals and a silver from the Gold Coast earlier this month.
Nine-year-old Mackenzie Macdonald won gold medals in her age group in the individual, pairs and team red belt Poomsae events and silver in the 22-25kg red belt sparring event at Metricon Stadium.
She qualified for the national championships through the Victoria State Selection event where she won gold medals in all four events.
Mackenzie said winning the national championship hadn’t sunk in yet.
“It’s sort of a dream that I’m a national champion. It makes me feel like I dreamt it all and I wasn’t awake during it but it’s reality I suppose,” she said.
“I look at the medals and I’m like, ‘wow, that’s what happened’.”
Mackenzie has been studying taekwondo for nearly three years and trains five days a week at Hall’s Taekwondo in Tullamarine with internationally recognised coaches Master Jiheon An and Master Jerry Moratis.
She completes most of her homework from The Kilmore International School on the 45-minute one way trip.
Mackenzie will train for grade for her black belt at the end of the year and next year, will compete in the 10-11 years black belt division in both sparring and Poomsae.
The Poomsae events see competitors perform a predetermined series of movements which are judged by a panel for a score out of 10. The sparring events are combative with electronic scoring through striking pads worn by an opponent.
Mackenzie said her goals are to become the world champion and go to the Olympics one day.
“Now I’m a national champion, my goal is to go to the Olympics and also become the world champion in both Poomsae and sparring, both the technical and fighting side,” she said.
“They’ve both changed my life. I used to wear glasses and when I started, Dad said the glasses are off and I did it in a few of my classes to get my black belt and I just became confident and started competing without my glasses and now I’m the national champion.
“A big thanks for all of my supporters. Mum, Dad, my brother, all the people around me and a big thanks to my coaches for helping me and taking me this far.”
Mackenzie’s mother Kristy Macdonald said proud is an understatement.
“We’re very proud of Mackenzie for her hard work and her focus in her classes and training. It’s a sweet reward when you come away with the results that she did,” she said.
“She’s driving this so it’s always a very fine balance of school, fun, being a kid and obviously having large goals which she does. We balanced to out just nicely and peaked at the right time.”