Local earns three medals in Taekwondo meet

By Staff
Rebecca James, Franklin County Times
Russellville native Christine Kelly received three medals at the International Taekwondo Alliance's 2007 Spring National this past weekend in Houston, Texas.
Kelly competed in three events, and medaled in each.
In her first round of competition, Kelly was pitted against two-time national champion Samantha Huffman, from Louisiana.
Kelly took the round 5-4 and earned her first gold medal of her competitive career. Kelly had previously earned five silver medals, two at national competition and three at regional competition.
"I ended up going against the national champion in the very first round," Kelly said. "I didn't know that I had actually won the match until after it was over. People just kept congratulating me, and I thought they were just being nice."
After her round with Huffman, who was the only competitor who scored points against her, Kelly did not allow any of the other competitors to score against her in either the semi-finals or the finals.
"It was such a relief to win the gold. Some people would say it was like getting a monkey off your back. For me, it was more like getting an obese gorilla off my back," Kelly said. "Getting the gold medal for the first time in national competition was such a natural high for me. After winning the gold, I was relaxed for the rest of the competition."
Kelly started her final match with a jump spin kick to her opponent's head to give her the three of the five points she would need to win the match.
Kelly also brought home a silver medal during her first time competing in free-design forms, which allows competitors to create their own set pattern of moves using traditional taekwondo techniques set to music.
The form must be completed within a one minute and thirty seconds.
Kelly's 83 moves completed in one minute and eleven seconds were enough to earn her a silver medal.
Kelly also took home a bronze medal in traditional forms.
Kelly has studied taekwondo for the past five years, and is currently a second degree, level four black belt and is certified to be an instructor.
She has been studying at Trent Graham's Taekwondo Academy for the last two and a half years. She was the national champion in traditional forms in 2005 and was ranked second in the nation in sparring. In 2006, she ranked third in the nation for traditional forms.
Kelly is the daughter of Dr. Kevin and Jane Kelly.

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