The 2021 Canadian National Taekwon-do Championships were set to be hosted by Sundance Martial Arts in Vernon in April, but the event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. (Sundance Martial Arts photo)

The 2021 Canadian National Taekwon-do Championships were set to be hosted by Sundance Martial Arts in Vernon in April, but the event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. (Sundance Martial Arts photo)

COVID-19 strikes down Taekwon-do nationals in Vernon

The 2021 Championships would have been hosted by Sundance Martial Arts at Kal Tire Place in April

A Taekwon-do tournament in less than four months with hundreds of athletes from across the country just wasn’t in the cards for Vernon’s Sundance Martial Arts.

The gym was set to host the 2021 Canadian National Taekwon-do Championships at Kal Tire Place April 24-25, but has followed other major sporting events in pulling the plug amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to cancel the championships was made by the Canadian Taekwon-do Federation and Sundance gym leader David White, a sixth degree black belt, after spending the last number of months closely following the latest news briefings from the provincial health officer.

“We were kind of put in a position where either we had to move forward with the event, continue generating sponsors, having people start to book their travel, or we had to decide to move on from that idea,” White said.

“It’s not surprising, but at the same time it would have been a very good event for our community and for our school of course, and our athletes.”

The prospect of bringing in 500 or more athletes wasn’t on the table given restrictions on travel, as well as a decrease in martial arts enrolment caused by the pandemic. White says according to the International Taekwon-do Federation of BC, membership is down by about 60 per cent across the province.

READ MORE: BCHL teams can practise together following revised health-order

“Because anybody that runs out of community centres or public facilities or, say, churches that aren’t renting out their facilities currently, they can’t operate,” he explained.

Not wanting to hold a lesser event with 200 or so athletes while renting Kal Tire Place, White is optimistic that Vernon can be home to the nationals down the road in 2023.

For White, that’s an exciting prospect given the new athletic facilities that are planned for the old Kin race track location.

“The current rec centre doesn’t really have the gym facilities, they don’t have a tournament capital centre, and that’s going to open the door for us to host things like provincial championships and Western Canadian championships — stuff that maybe Kal Tire is a little too big for as a facility,” White said.

Despite having widespread support to host the event, it wouldn’t be the event they’d planned without the best athletes in the country able to attend.

“We had a lot of support from the other provinces but at the end of the day, lots of support from coaches is great but if the athletes aren’t actually allowed to attend, what do you do?” White said.

The cancellation is unfortunate timing for White’s star pupil, Brianna Lee, who would have been taking part in her third world championships in the junior category this year after appearing in Ireland at age 14, and again in Germany in 2019.

“In Ireland she was the second youngest competitor of the whole championships,” White said.

This year is Lee’s last year of junior eligibility, meaning she’ll have to make the jump to adult competition upon turning 18.

In positive news, many students at Sundance are still able to compete virtually in e-tournaments where athletes are judged on ‘patterns’ — kicks, punches and manoeuvres — submitted by video. The Pan-American e-tournament is slated to run in February in this format, as is the Slovenia World Cup in October.

“I consider myself quite lucky in that my students are still able to train, my athletes are still eveb able to compete in certain categories,” White said.

READ MORE: Vernon biathlon veteran relishes role with national team


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

CoronavirusLocal Sports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Ladybug Landing Child Care Centre in Salmon Arm remains open as one person who was at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm daycare owner upset by rumours related to positive COVID-19 test

Ladybug Landing’s Leigh-Anne Chapman impressed by response from Interior Health

Police are seeking further witnesses after an elderly woman who was struck by a vehicle in Salmon Arm succumbed to her injuries. (File Photo)
Salmon Arm pedestrian dies after being hit by truck along Highway 1

Collision took place on Jan. 15 in downtown Salmon Arm, police looking for witnesses

Responding to recent cases of COVID-19 confirmed at Shuswap schools, School District 83 Superintendent Peter Jory has asked staff and the public to be vigilant when it comes to the practice of good behaviours that help prevent the virus’ spread. (File photo)
COVID-19: North Okanagan-Shuswap school communities asked be vigilant

Superintendent Peter Jory responds to increasing COVID-19 numbers at schools.

Charlotte is one of the resident pigs at Star's Piggly Wiggly's Sanctuary near Kelowna. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Kelowna-area pig sanctuary needs a new home

Star’s Piggly Wiggly’s Sanctuary is looking for properties in Vernon, Coldstream, and Enderby

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden arrives at U.S. Capitol for inauguration

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect us all

Canada has recorded more than 700,000 confirmed cases of pandemic

A couple living at the Summerland Waterfront Resort is trying to sell their unit because of strata changes which will require them to pay significantly higher strata fees or have their unit included in the resort’s rental pool (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Couple living at Summerland resort facing increases

Permanent residents of Summerland Waterfront Resort told fees will more than double

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

(Big White Ski Resort)
28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

More than 200 cases have been identified since the cluster was announced

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Moose chases two people near North Okanagan school

Conservation and dog control attending to the situation

The sale of the Kirschner Mountain Development for $22M marks the largest in Realtor history, in the Okanagan. (Contributed)
Kelowna mountain development sold for $22M

The sale of the 640-acre Kirschner Mountain development has made the history books

Most Read