Winnipeg native Skylar Park won her second straight gold medal, defeating 2023 world champion Nahid Kiyanichandeh of Iran in the women’s 57-kilogram final Tuesday at the Taiyuan World Taekwondo Grand Prix in China.
Olympic hopeful beats Iranian athlete in 57 kg final in China ahead of Pan Am Games
Skylar Park continues to build momentum ahead of her second Pan Am Games appearance.
The Winnipeg native won her second straight gold medal, defeating 2023 world champion Nahid Kiyanichandeh of Iran in the women’s 57-kilogram final Tuesday at the Taiyuan World Taekwondo Grand Prix in China.
Park, who prevailed 2-1, also earned critical points as she eyes qualification for next summer’s Paris Olympics through the world rankings. She currently sits fourth.
Taekwondo Canada executive director Dave Harris said Park’s effort “was indicative of her skill and perseverance.”
Added high performance director, Dr. Allan Wrigley: “Skylar’s performance reflects the hard and dedication she, her coach [and dad Jae Park] and support team have been putting in. She was strong, resilient and adaptable throughout.
“Skylar continues to improve and perform when it matters most on her way towards Olympic qualification [and] we are looking forward to seeing what she can do at the Pan American Games [later this month].”
WATCH | Taekwondo runs in the Park family’s blood:
My Story: Taekwondo is a family affair for Skylar Park
Featured VideoTaekwondo runs in the Park family’s blood. Skylar, along with her brothers Tae-Ku and Braven, all compete for Canada at an international level, guided by their coach and father, Jae.
Tuesday’s third and final round provided fierce action with powerful kicks and falls, according to worldtaekwondo.org.
Trailing 7-5, Park drove Kiyanichandeh off the mat for a single point. With less than a second left in the match, the Canadian attacked and landed to the body for a one-point win as the shocked Iranian athlete dropped to her knees.
Ahreum Lee of South Korea and Russia’s Tatiana Minina each were awarded a bronze medal.
Park, 24, beat Lee in the semifinals and Hungary’s Luana Marton, another world champion this year, in the quarterfinals.
Two weeks ago, Park won gold at the Pan American President’s Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
She will try to improve upon her silver-medal performance at the 2019 Pan Am Games as one of nine Canadian taekwondo athletes at this year’s event in Santiago, Chile. The taekwondo competition runs Oct. 21-24.
Park, who was born into a family of 16 black belts, will be joined by her brothers, Taeku and Braven.
In 2016, Skylar Park grabbed gold in the 59 kg division at the world junior championships in Burnaby, B.C. She was also favoured to medal in her 2021 Olympic debut in Tokyo, where she bowed out in the quarterfinals of the 57 kg event.
WATCH | Park on mental shift after winning world junior title:
My Moment: Skylar Park on her mental shift after winning her first championship
Featured VideoAfter being named the “next new face of Taekwondo”, she learns to balance the pressure of the title and find her momentum forward.