Bryce Hart, left, practices Wednesday with instructor Dwayne Worley at the Roswell Adult Center. Hart is preparing to compete in the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships, which will be held in Rome, Italy, in July. (Randal Seyler Photo)
Bryce Hart, a senior at Goddard High School, is one of a handful of Southeastern New Mexicans who have qualified to compete in the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships, which will be held in Rome, Italy, in July.
Hart, a first-degree black belt, qualified in sparring and was chosen as an alternate in patterns competition.
“This is really a tremendous opportunity for Bryce,” said his instructor, Dwayne Worley. Worley teaches Taekwon-Do at the Roswell Adult Center in Roswell.
Black belts from Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do spent March 15-16 in Houston, Texas, qualifying for the international championships. This is the equivalent of qualifying for the Olympic games of most sports, Worley said.
Worley has been teaching Taekwon-Do in New Mexico since 1973, and he is planning fundraising events to help pay Hart’s way to Italy, and the trip is expected to cost about $4,000.
“We hope to have a pancake breakfast here at the adult center,” Worley said.
Master Steve Blakeley, a seventh-degree black belt and senior instructor for Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do, took five black belts to Houston for the qualifiers. To qualify, a black belt must earn one of the top three slots in their events against black belts from across the United States. There were more than 800 competitors in Houston and about 130 were selected to compete at the world championships.
Four other black belts from Portales also qualified. Audra Brown, a fourth-degree black belt, qualified in breaking and sparring, Maeve Brown, a second-degree black belt, qualified in specialty breaking, Haley Madden, first-degree black belt qualified in sparring and patterns, and Evan Luna, second-degree black belt, qualified in sparring.
“This is the first time that Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do has qualified everyone that competed from Portales and Roswell,” Worley said. “This achievement gives them the honor of representing the United States against teams from all over the world.”
Blakeley was head coach of the USA World Team in 2010 and has been assistant coach at the past three World Championships and will be assisting again this year.
Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do opened in Portales in 1979 and now has branch schools in Clovis and Roswell. This is the fourth time they have qualified black belts for this highest level of competition, Worley said.
Audra Brown has earned four medals at previous world championships — two gold medals and a bronze in power breaking in Korea, and a silver medal in patterns in England in 2007. This is the first time Hart, Madden, Luna and Maeve Brown have qualified for the world championships.
Eastern New Mexico Taekwon-Do will hold several fundraising events to help the competitors defray trip expenses, including car washes in Clovis and Portales, and the group plans to hold raffles and other events between now and July 23 when the competitors leave for Italy.
Contributions in any amount are appreciated, Worley said. He can be contacted at 623-0026.
Taekwon-Do classes at the Roswell Adult Center are held at 5:45 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Hart, left, is one of several area students who qualified to compete in the international competition. There will be several fundraising events held to help the competitors defray trip expenses. (Randal Seyler Photo)