Local taekwondo competitor Teya Doughty recently returned home from the National Championships in Calgary ranking eighth in Canada for her age and weight class. For Doughty, qualifying for the Nationals, her largest competition to date, was already her biggest accomplishment, so the opportunity to fight against high-level athletes was an added bonus. At 17 years old, she was in a class among 17-25 year old athletes.
Although the size of the event was intimidating, Doughty said she managed her nerves. It was also the first time undergoing such a formal pre-competition process.
The day before, Doughty easily passed her weigh-in, but with so many people, had to wait in a two-hour line-up. Luckily she was able to carb-load for the match that night. Getting assessed for the match itself was also time consuming because of the high level of competition.
“We had to have our arm guards and gloves checked to make sure there were no extra sensors hidden,” she said.
In a pool of thirteen girls in her group, Doughty was up against a competitor from Quebec who had been competing in black belt for seven to eight years. Doughty acquired her black belt last year. She also went into the ring with a pulled hamstring.
“It was intense, nerve-wracking and a tough fight,” Doughty said. “But I got two points on her and I am proud of that.”
Although Doughty vaguely remembers fighting and was full of adrenaline, she clearly remembers two hits.
“I got a powerful one on the chest and one on my ribs,” she said. “It sent body aches right through me and winded me quite a bit so she got a few more on me.”
When it was over, and she shook the hand of the opposition’s coach, he told her she had great courage.
“I knew I was going in as the underdog, but I blocked a bunch of shots,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse. She was going for my head.”
Doughty said her training paid off. She had been travelling to Vancouver and Victoria on the weekends and approached the fight with a strong background.
“I was mostly trying to play smart and not go in for the attacks all the time,” she said. “That was hard for me because I’m used to going full out all the time.”
While there, Doughty watched not only her own friends compete, but also Olympic hopefuls, which inspired her to keep up with the sport following graduation in June. She said she might scale back but could not imagine her life without being so active.
“I will keep training every week or two and then make decisions for the future,” she said. “I just want to thank everyone for all the help and encouragement.