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Kamloops kids win five medals in taekwondo tournament

Tournament Capital trio takes gold, silver and bronze medals
From left: Liam Molloy, 14, Riley Horsman, 12, and Jagger Portelance, 9, impressed judges at the B.C. Taekwondo Open Tournament in Vancouver on Feb. 26. With them is fifth-degree black belt instructor Jason Hockersmith.

Three students from Master JEH's Taekwondo in Valleyview won medals at an international tournament in Vancouver on Feb. 26.

Green belt Jagger Portelance, 9, won gold in sparring, plus bronze in forms/patterns, known as poomsae in Korean. It was his first tournament. Riley Horsman, 12, who has a red belt with black stripe, won two bronze medals: one in forms and one in sparring. Riley is from Chilliwack originally and joined Master JEH's Taekwondo in 2021 as Master Jason Hockersmith's first student in Kamloops.

Liam Molloy, 14, who also wears a red belt/black-stripe, took the silver medal in sparring. Liam moved to Kamloops from Quebec and joined JEH's Taekwondo in 2021, the school's second student.

“It was the first tournament for us as a relatively new school,” said Hockersmith. “Having three winners right off the bat is amazing. I was really impressed with how hard they trained and how much heart and perseverance they showed. Several other students had planned to attend, but with all the snow that weekend, they unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute. We did really well and next year we will be even better.”

Hockersmith, who has decades of martial arts and military training under his belt, opened his dojang (training hall) in October 2021. He moved to larger premises in Valleyview in September 2022.

Some 700 participants from across Canada, plus Washington and Oregon states, competed in the 2023 B.C. Taekwondo Open and 2023 Colour Belt National Championships in Canada Place in downtown Vancouver on Feb. 26.

Master JEH's Taekwondo is located at 168 Oriole Rd.