Senior victorious in Taekwondo contest

Senior victorious in Taekwondo contest

Growing up in Brockton, Fredson Gomes faced a lot of peer pressure and at age 10 began walking a fine line between good and bad behavior. But the Cape Verdean-native found a different outlet: Taekwondo.

“My dad put me in it as a form of exercise and I kept doing it and learned to like it,” said Gomes, a senior marketing major.

Almost 15 years after he started, Gomes is an international champion in the sport and received the gold medal while representing Northeastern at the 32nd National Collegiate Taekwondo Association Championship at Texas A ‘ M University March 31.

The tournament consisted of competitors from across the nation and from local schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy (MIT), Tufts University and Harvard University. Gomes won after defeating opponents in four matches throughout the day. Because Northeastern only has a team for the traditional form of Taekwondo, Gomes trains in Sport Taekwondo at CW Taekwondo in Cambridge with Master Dan Chuang, the MIT coach. As a child he trained twice a day for two hours each, but now an hour and a half of training, five days a week suffices, he said.

Taekwondo, a full-contact sport in which competitors are awarded points based on technique and power, was officially recognized by the Olympic Committee in 2000.

Gomes is working toward representing Cape Verde for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He will attend the try-outs in Great Britain in early September, he said. He is also competing in the World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing in May.

He was a place shy of qualifying for the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, when he received a bronze medal instead of the necessary gold or silver.

This time Gomes said he feels confident about his chances to qualify for the Olympics.

“I know the amount of work it takes and I’m enjoying the ride,” he said.

In 2003, Gomes made history in his home country by becoming the first Cape Verdean to win an international gold medal at the VIII All-African Games in Abuja, Nigeria. He was 21 years old at the time.

After the Olympics, Gomes said he hopes to open his own studio. As a United Nations Spokesperson for the Millenium Development Goals, he is also considering starting a non-profit organization related to martial arts.

“My goal is to spread the knowledge of the art,” he said. “It helped me a lot and I want to give that back to kids.”

More information about Gomes can be found at his website, www.FredsonGomes.com. Video footage of the Texas tournament can be seen on Gomes’ YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/fredsongomes.

Leave a Reply