Stimson seventh-grader Preston Park won a world silver medal in the cadet pair poomsae at the 2022 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships recently, pairing with Julia Cho of Bayside for the first in Team USA history.
Preston,13, has been competing in taekwondo since he was 6, encouraged by his father, Jay Park, to acquaint him with his Korean heritage. “I wanted to introduce my son to Korean culture, getting him used to my native language,” Park said. “I wanted him to adopt a skill for himself, learning the culture and language so he understands where parents and grandparents are coming from. That was my basic idea. He’s been doing very well.”
Park competed against the Ukraine national team of Davya Gavrylov and Yena Gavrylova, defeating them to move on against the Vietnamese national team of Hien Nguyen and Kim Han Trinh. After winning, they advanced to compete against the Taipei team of Bing-Hsuan Yeh and Yu-Jin Chang, but lost by 0.14 points.
A second-generation Korean-American, Preston competes in both sparring and poomsae, a sequence of defense and attack movements of fundamental stances, blocks, punches and kicks.
Next on his schedule are competitions in Bulgaria and at the Pan American championships in Costa Rica.
Preston is just getting started in the sport, he said. “I like everything about it. once I started I just felt that I should do it more. In my first competition, the New York governor’s cup, I received three gold medals. I realized I’m actually good at it. I felt I could be better.The more I work at it, the more I enjoy it.”