Blake­town teen takes Bronze at na­tional Tae kwon do com­pe­ti­tion

The Compass - - SPORTS - Photo cour­tesy of An­thony Byrne BY DENISE PIKE

Re­nee Os­bourne of Blake­town is among the top three ju­nior Tae kwon do medal­lists in Canada.

The 14-year-old earned a Bronze medal at the Canada Ju­nior (black belts un­der 15-years) Tae Kwon do com­pe­ti­tion in Que­bec City, May 16 to 18.

“She gave an im­pres­sive per­for­mance,” said Mas­ter An­thony Byrne, coach and trainer of the Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia Tae kwon do Club. “I’m so proud of her.”

Re­nee hur­dled her first op­po­nent and then tied the com­peti­tor from On­tario 2 - 2. The match went into over­time and at the end of the three two-minute rounds the girls had tied once again, so it was up to the judges to de­cide the out­come. In the end On­tario took the Sil­ver medal, while Re­nee re­ceived the Bronze.

“On­tario was a ma­jor com­peti­tor, they had over 300 fight­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion as op­posed to New­found­land and Labrador which had just a hand­ful,” said Byrne. “They showed more ini­tia­tive in cheer­ing, there was quite a crowd from On­tario in the back­ground clap­ping and mak­ing a lot of noise and I be­lieve it in­flu­enced the judges, I re­ally do. Re­nee fought re­ally well and I was pretty sure she had the Sil­ver. In fact when she came off the mat and we were wait­ing for the de­ci­sion to be an­nounced I told her I thought she had it.

“Of course I know I’m a bit bias,” Byrne chuck­les. “But how can I not be? She was the bet­ter fighter. But get­ting the Bronze medal is also a great ac­com­plish­ment. I’m ex­tremely proud of her.”

Re­nee is also pleased with her third place win.

“I wasn’t dis­ap­pointed at all,” she said. “This was my first time com­pet­ing at the na­tional level, so I felt pretty good winning the bronze. That na­tional podium was the best stage I was ever on and it felt so good to have the Bronze medal placed around my neck. I re­ally trained hard and all that ef­fort paid off.”

Her train­ing in­cluded prac­tices ev­ery Tues­day, Thurs­day and Sun­day night with Mas­ter Byrne as well as wak­ing up early on Satur­day morn­ings and driv­ing from Blake­town to St. John’s for an­other high per­for­mance Tae kwon do prac­tice. The 18-week Tae kwon do elite pro­gram, taught by Mas­ter Jens Hosel, helped pre­pare Re­nee for the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“It was a very in­tense pro­gram, but it helped me de­velop my spar­ring,” she said. “I also had a train­ing pro­gram to do at home ev­ery day as well.”

Byrne, who has been coach­ing Re­nee for the past six years, says his stu­dent is far more com­pet­i­tive on the mat than she is off.

“She is the sweet­est, most meek and mild teenager that you could ever meet,” he says. “She puts her all into the sport and into fight­ing while on the mat, but she would never be the one to fight or start a fight off it.”

Al­though small in num­bers, Re­nee had her own cheer­lead­ing squad at the na­tion­als - her mom Norma and her dad Bill.

“They at­tend all my com­pe­ti­tions,” said Re­nee. “They spend a lot of time driv­ing me around and sup­port­ing me dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tions. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that.”

The Bronze medal is just one of many awards Re­nee has racked up over the past few years.

The Grade 8 stu­dent at Cres­cent Col­le­giate is also an ac­com­plished fig­ure skater with the Trin­ity Pla­cen­tia Fig­ure Skat­ing Club and plays volleyball and soc­cer.

Re­nee, who has her First De­gree Black Belt, is cur­rently work­ing to­wards her Sec­ond De­gree Black Belt. She also hopes to com­pete in the Cana­dian Na­tional Tae kwon do cham­pi­onships in Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia in Novem­ber.

Mas­ter Byrne thinks she will have no trou­ble com­pet­ing.

“Re­nee is an ex­tremely dis­ci­plined, ded­i­cated ath­lete and her ded­i­ca­tion to the train­ing proves she can com­pete with the top ath­letes in the coun­try,” said Byrne. “She’s the type that will crawl out of bed when sick to make it to a prac­tice. She doesn’t miss a prac­tice, it would take some snow­storm to keep her away.”

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