Canada’s Santiago 2023 taekwondo team announced
TORONTO (May 1, 2023) – Taekwondo Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s taekwondo team nominated to compete at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
The athletes selected for Team Canada in taekwondo at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:
Marc-André Bergeron (Québec City, Que.)
Ashley Kraayeveld (Mississauga, Ont.)
Charlélie Mercier (Lévis, Que.)
Angelique Orozco (Toronto, Ont.)
Braven Park (Winnipeg, Man.)
Tae-Ku Park (Winnipeg, Man.)
Skylar Park (Winnipeg, Man.)
Jinsu Ha (Richmond Hill, Ont.)
Valerie Ho (Red Deer, Alta.)
The nine athletes qualified based on their performances at the 2023 Pan American Games Qualification Tournament that took place March 22-23 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The tournament featured competitors from more than 20 Pan American countries and served as the pathway for National Olympic Committees to earn spots for Santiago 2023.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to represent Canada at the Pan American Games for the second time. It’s always a great honour to wear the maple leaf, especially at a major multi-sport Games,” said Skylar Park, who won a silver medal at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games and a bronze medal at the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships before making her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
“This time is extra special for me, as I have the opportunity to do so not only with my dad in my (coaching) chair once again, but alongside both of my brothers as well. This will be both of their first times competing at a Games and I am so excited to experience it alongside them! The opportunity of getting to experience these Games together as a family as we all strive for the top of the podium is going to be so special.”
Canadian taekwondo athletes are looking forward to the 2023 season after achieving notable international results last season. Jinsu Ha earned a bronze medal at the 2022 World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships. Skylar Park earned a gold medal at the 2022 Senior Pan Am Championships while both Braven and Tae-Ku Park earned bronze medals. Each of the kyorugi athletes selected for the Santiago 2023 team will also compete at the upcoming 2023 World Taekwondo Championships from May 29 to June 6 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
“I feel really excited to be able to represent my country at such a big event and I really can’t wait to fight in what will be my first major continental event,” said Charlélie Mercier, who will make his Pan American Games debut. “It’s a lot of pressure but I know that I have time to prepare and I will be well supported at this event with my training partner Marc-André Bergeron and with Team Canada.”
Santiago 2023 will be a return to the Pan American Games for Bergeron, who competed at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games where he earned a bronze medal.
Team Canada has won a total of 31 medals in taekwondo since it became part of the Pan American Games program for men at Indianapolis 1987 and for women at Mar del Plata 1995. The team kyorugi event will make its Pan American Games debut at Santiago 2023. Kyorugi athletes will earn world ranking points at Santiago 2023 that will go towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“With a combination of top World Taekwondo-ranked athletes and rising stars, our team will be ready to perform at the Games this fall,” said Allan Wrigley, Taekwondo Canada’s high performance director.
“We have strong medal potential in several kyorugi divisions and one of the best poomsae pairs in the continental union. The addition of team kyorugi provides a unique opportunity as our male and female kyorugi athletes are strongly represented in all three of the combined weight divisions. We expect these Games to showcase the depth of talent Canada has in taekwondo.”
Taekwondo will take place from October 21 to October 24 (Days 1 to 4) at the Centro de Deportes de Contacto, Estadio Nacional.
“I’m thrilled to welcome these amazing athletes to Team Canada for Santiago 2023,” said Christine Girard, Team Canada’s Santiago 2023 Chef de Mission. “Get ready to feel a kick of excitement with their impressive moves and inspiring dedication.”
Team Canada’s taekwondo team coaches and support staff for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:
Carla Bacco (Burlington, Ont.) – Coach
Jae Park (Winnipeg, Man.) – Coach
Seoungmin Rim (Calgary, Alta.) – Coach
Elwin Lau (Concord, Ont.) – Team Medical
Allan Wrigley (Sooke, B.C.) – Team Leader
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organizations.
Santiago 2023 will be the first time that Chile hosts the Pan American Games. The Games begin on October 20 and end on November 5, 2023, and will feature approximately 7000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 39 sports.
David Harris, Executive Director
T: 613-695-5425 / C: 519-859-7410
Tara MacBournie, Team Canada Santiago 2023 Sport Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee