By Colin MacGillivray
Wandong 12-year-old Mackenzie Macdonald will live out a lifelong dream when she represents Australia at next month’s World Taekwondo Cadet Championships in Bulgaria.
Mackenzie earned her place in the national team at an Australian Taekwondo selection event in Sydney on June 4.
She won the selection semi-final and final convincingly, taking each best-of-three round 2-0.
During the 2022 competition season, Mackenzie also claimed an Australian Taekwondo Performance Pathway Program event in Sydney in February, as well as the Australian Taekwondo National Championships in Brisbane in April.
Both victories came in the same division in which she will compete at next month’s world championships – black belt cadet, 12-14 years, under 33 kilograms.
Mackenzie said she was ‘honoured to represent Australia’.
“I feel a mix of excitement and anticipation as I haven’t travelled overseas before or competed at such a large event,” she said.
“I believe in my training, so I just need to keep a calm and focused mindset. I am confident I will do my very best.”
Mackenzie’s ambition to represent Australia in Taekwondo began at a young age.
Upon achieving a black belt at Hall’s Taekwondo at nine years old, she declared she would compete at the world championships and aim to be an Olympian, like Hall’s member Lauren Burns had done before her.
Mackenzie has trained consistently, mentored by the likes of Tokyo Olympian Reba Stewart, and numerous high-performance club athletes.
The World Taekwondo Cadet Championships are an elite international proving ground for young Taekwondo athletes. At last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, 17 of the 32 Taekwondo medallists had medalled either at the World Taekwondo cadet or junior championships, or at the Youth Olympic Games.
The statistics demonstrate that cadet athletes who will be competing in Bulgaria have the potential to be nurtured into World or Olympic champions.
Mackenzie’s training is strategically formulated and led by Hall’s head coach Jerry Moraitis, covering cardio, stretching, drills and simulated matches.
Taking up Taekwondo as a six-year-old, Mackenzie is already a six-time national champion and trains with Hall’s Taekwondo six days a week, travelling more than 700 kilometres per week to attend. She has also earned several state championships individually and as a team member.
Mackenzie is a full-time student at Colmont School, formerly known as The Kilmore International School. The school supported her in the weeks leading up to the world championship selections with a modified learning program to fit around her training schedule.
Mackenzie’s family has established a fundraising page to support the costs associated with travelling internationally.
Australian Taekwondo is unable to financially support representatives and encouraged team members to reach out to community to support her participation.
Mackenzie’s mother Kristy said she expected to hit the target donation amount soon, but that it was only a small portion of the total cost and that all donations were welcome. Any donations are tax deductible.
People can support Mackenzie’s world championships trip by visiting asf.org.au/projects/mackenzie-macdonalds-world-taekwondo-championship-campaign-for-team-australia.