Lithgow junior taekwondo stars win national gold medals

GOLDEN GIRLS: Jorja Pender and Alexis Reid are rising stars in taekwondo and their recent Australian Championship golds are just another step on their journey. Picture: HOSEA LUY
GOLDEN GIRLS: Jorja Pender and Alexis Reid are rising stars in taekwondo and their recent Australian Championship golds are just another step on their journey. Picture: HOSEA LUY

Most of us could only ever dream of an Australian Championship win but Alexis Reid and Jorja Pender have claimed their first national titles before the age of ten.

The young fighters from Haktari Taekwondo Academy in Lithgow secured their gold medals at the recent national championships in Bendigo.

Close to 900 competitors descended on the Victorian town for the event and Alexis and Jorja shone brightly to take out the win in their respective weight divisions.

They both competed in the blue belt 8-9 age category.

"Both girls did really, really well," head instructor at Haktari Taekwondo Jeff Crane said.

"We were really happy with how they were going into the national competition, they both trained really, really hard and throughly deserved their wins.

"We had a lot of comments from other coaches on the girls, their footwork and their gameplan... the comments were 'I can't believe young girls can fight and know how to do so much'."

The year 3 students at St Patrick’s School said their training equipped them to fight faster and smarter than their opponents.

Both girls said they were proud, happy and excited to take out their first national titles.

Alexis and Jorja dominated their first fights, which were stopped in the third round under the gap rule.

They both established a 20 point lead over their opponents forcing an end to the fight, Alexis leading 20-0 and Jorja 25-5.

Next up were the main events to decide who would take home the gold.

"Alexis went in first and she had a tough battle with a little girl that was very tough competition and Alexis got a four point lead with seconds to go and it was fantastic," Crane said.

Her opponent couldn't come back and Alexis secured the gold.

She was followed shortly after by Jorja who had a substantial height advantage over her opposing fighter and went on to win by close to ten points.

Crane thanked the other young boys and girls at Haktari Taekwondo who acted as sparring partners for Alexis and Jorja as well as the Reid and Pender families for their great support.

Alexis Reid’s mother, Jody spoke of the praise the Haktari girls received from spectators and coaches from other clubs.

They spoke of the girl’s speed, technique, strong kicks and footwork for such young fighters and believed they would be hard to beat in the future.

“To hear that from some of the best clubs in Australia to know that we can stand up with the best of the best - that's pretty awesome,” Jody Reid said.