Team USA TKD Students Continue Their Success
Merissa Pico and Marc-Dimitry Akda return from Jamaica on high note.
Master Alvin Bernard is very proud of all of his students, and Merissa Pico and Marc-Dimitry Akda just added to that pride.
Both are students at Team USA on Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee and have accomplished so much already. After returning from Ochos Rios, Jamaica, the duo added more gold medals to their already impressive resumes.
Merissa Pico won the gold in the Caribbean Open for sparring and for patterns. Marc-Dimitry Akda did the same in his division. Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Puerto Rico were just some of the countries that participated at this event.
Jamaica hosted a three day ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) Taekwondo seminar. The ITF is a different type of Taekwondo than WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) Olympic Taekwondo. ITF Taekwondo involves not only kicking, but punching as well. WTF Olympic type sparring is mostly kicking.
Pico is currently ranked #1 in the USA and qualified for two separate USA National Teams this year -- the ITF sparring and patterns, and the WTF Olympic Taekwondo sparring.
Akda is also currently ranked #1 in the USA and made the USA National team for ITF sparring and patterns, along with winning the bronze medal at the World Championships last year in New Zealand.
Pico really enjoyed the experience in Jamaica as it was a very special time for her.
“The Caribbean Championship was a fantastic tournament," said Pico. "It was exciting to meet other competitors from countries that I don't usually see at competitions, such as Jamaica and Antigua. Representing my country at the Caribbean Championships was a great honor. Jamaica is a beautiful country. Traveling nationally and internationally for Taekwondo is always a privilege and a great experience. As of now, the next thing I'm training for is the Junior Pan American Games in Las Vegas, Nevada.”
Marc-Dimitry Akda also had a blast at the event and was honored to make the trip.
“My experience at the 2011 Caribbean Championships held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, was exhilarating," said Akda. "I always feel blessed that I have the opportunity to travel around the world, experience new cultures and meet new people through Tae Kwon Do."
Akda said he felt honored to step into the ring and represent his country again at the Caribbean Championships. After winning the bronze medal for the United States in Wellington, New Zealand, at the 2011 ITF World Championships, he said it felt great to step back into the ring and compete internationally again.
"Being the Caribbean Champion I feel that I have the responsibility to work even harder than I did preparing for this championship, to maintain my title. I'm always humble about my achievements and triumphs.”
Pico will be heading to Las Vegas on October 9th to represent the USA National team in WTF Sparring at the Junior Pan American games. Both Pico and Akda have a lot to be proud of.