For the first time ever two Barbadian martial artists will be elevated to sixth dan when the Association of Barbados’ (TAB) grading takes place this Saturday at Shuttlers Badminton Club in Eagling Grove, Christ Church.
The grading process will be done under the guidance and expertise of renowned Olympic referee Sir Jose ‘Chaco’ who was present during this afternoon’s press conference held at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA).
No stranger to Barbados, the Aruba-born Cornelio is held in high esteem as a seventh dan around the world and was given a warm welcome by TAB president Henderson Turton along with BOA present Sandra Osborne and general secretary Erskine Simmons.
During his remarks, the highly rated grandmaster who was the former president of the Caribbean Taekwondo Federation for eight years said he was pleased to be on the island and looked forward to assisting the association with the respective gradings.
There are eight TAB member clubs and vice president of TAB, Dr Leo Brewster, said the local Taekwondo association had improved and continued to do so by participating in several international tournaments. He noted that both the junior and senior competitors continued to raise their high standards.
“The association has been able to demonstrate over the past year that we are raising the profile of this organization in a significant way. We also went and played in Las Vegas last year and were able to medal at the junior level in both the World’s President Taekwondo Games and we got two bronze, gold and silver which was unique for us because that was the first time we competed at that level.
“The significance of the grading that is going to be taking place this weekend, is that this will allow us to enhance our capacity on the international stage, both in terms of training and recognition. And together with our two international referees, it would give us a great standing not only within the region but on the world stage because our international referees will be able to go out and actively take part in international competitions,” Brewster said.
He took the time to encourage people to get involved in the sport which he said can help to build character along with other fine qualities.
Meanwhile, TAB general secretary, Ogeji Dottin, shared the same sentiments as Brewster and said by attending various tournaments, it helped the association to build international ties with other federations as they worked towards the 2024 Olympics scheduled for Paris, France.
“It speaks testimony to this administration that is leading the taekwondo association through the next Olympic period. One of our main objectives as a small nation is to build relationships and we are going to be looking to do that throughout the Caribbean whether it is English, Dutch, Spanish or French. It is important for small countries like us to forge relationships, so we can develop the technical level of our players.
“Within the past year, we’ve been fortunate to have a strong representation at the world championships. Our appreciated and late colleague Damien Taylor was able to establish quite a remarkable performance for Barbados there. So, unfortunately, he has left us, and our mission remains the same to get back onto the world level and of course our sights are on the Olympic in 2024,” he said.
The grading of multiple dans inclusive of the most senior ranks in Barbados will take place this Saturday but will not be opened to the public.