16-year-old Airdronian, Heinrich Botha, is making a name for himself competing in large taekwondo tournaments across the world, including South Korea and Toronto. His passion for taekwondo all started at the very young age of four years old.
"I was in a Subway and I saw a little kid like come in with a red belt and uniform, then I told my mom that I wanted to do martial arts. We kept on looking, and eventually, we found taekwondo."
Botha trained often in taekwondo at a young age, once he was in grade seven, that's when he started competing competitively. Last year was the first year of taking the sport really seriously and training a couple of times every week consistently.
Botha, a student at W.H. Croxford hit the main stage in April 2022 when he went to South Korea for the World Championships and competed on a mixed team in the Freestyle U17 event. He and his team finished in 5th place.
At the beginning of this month, Botha was in Toronto for Nationals, where he competed in the Individual Freestyle U17 category. This time Botha was able to collect a bronze medal.
"I was pretty happy with my performance, but I think I can do better."
Up next for Botha is the Canada and US Open Championships taking place in Vancouver and Las Vegas over the next couple of months.
"I just love the sport and I just want to be the best that I can be. It's really fun improving and competing."
Botha is currently trying to garner new skills in his routine for his upcoming tournaments so he can continue to improve.
While planning to do taekwondo for as long as he possibly can, Botha trains in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and at night on Fridays and Sundays.
Competing individually at the World Championships is something Botha dreams of doing, but to be able to do that he must first win Nationals, he explained.
In his free time, Botha loves spending time with friends and family and working on different taekwondo skills.
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