A former Grenfell resident has become the bronze medal Taekwondo national champion.
Black belt Taekwondo champion Alison Kells made her debut at the Senior Canadian Taekwondo National Championships in Toronto June 28 to 30.
After only four years of training, Kells demonstrated immense skill, strength and self-discipline.
Kells first qualified in B.C. after two separate team trial events earned her the title of top fighter on her team at nationals.
The Grenfell native won two of her three bouts, beating her first opponent from Alberta 9-3, and her second opponent from Ontario 9-7.
Kells was reintroduced to the sport of martial arts when a co-worker approached her about participating in taekwondo with the Parksville Taekwondo Academy four years ago.
“I had taken karate in Grenfell when I was a kid and my instructors, Dan and Angie Hoffman and Murray Thomlinson, played a large role in this because that’s when I had the opportunity to start in martial arts and it sort of stuck with me,” Kells said from Parksville, B.C. “I was 27 years old when I started and it was amazing how easily it came back to me from the years of doing karate. I think when you do something as a kid, and you do it for so long, it is a bit of second nature. I took to it right away and I just loved it.”
Kells said it wasn’t until about two years ago that she began taking the sport seriously when her coach asked if she wished to work toward the national competition.
“I made nationals my goal from then on. I wanted to place and get a medal.”
Kells said it was great satisfaction to win the bronze medal and become the third place Canadian Taekwondo champion.
“It was amazing just to know that I could accomplish something in that amount of time. To set a goal and to know that I could achieve it was just unbelievable.”
In preparation for the Canadian Nationals, Kells attended the US Open Taekwondo Championships in Las Vegas last February, learning from over 1,500 athletes from 63 countries. In further efforts to perfect her abilities, Kells moved to Korea for two weeks to study and immerse herself in a restrictive taekwondo training program with the top competitors from Canada.
“We trained there three times a day- about nine hours a day. I did that in preparation for this year because I had to throw myself into it completely and be immersed in it. I started when I was 27, a lot of the other girls started when they were seven…so I needed all the help- all the edge- I could get.”
Kells attributed her accomplishment to her small town roots and to the support of her father Wayne, and of the people around her.
“I was really the last piece of the puzzle. It’s everybody else that helped me along the way,” said the 31-year-old pharmacist. “It really is the small towns where dreams start. Small towns bring support that you can carry with you for future endeavours.”