Sports & Health

Premier opens international taekwondo tournament at Markham Pan Am Centre

There was an international flavour and plenty of energy at the Markham Pan Am Centre this past weekend as athletes from Canada, the U.S., South Korea, and several other Pam Am nations gathered to compete in the Black Belt World Canadian Taekwondo Championship competition.

The 7th annual competition provided bouts for males and females of all ages and skill levels. But this year, a new twist came about with the arrival of Ontario Premier Doug Ford who officially opened the competition.  Rather than relying on the usual straight-to-the-podium march and grand opening speech used by politicians everywhere, Ford, clearly enjoying the day’s proceedings, arrived, wading into the picture-taking throngs to greet young competitors.

Premier Doug Ford (at podium) with MPPs Billy Pang, Neil Lumsden, and Michael Tibollo.

After a short obligatory podium greeting, he donned a special dobok, the traditional taekwondo outfit with an honorary black belt, presented by tournament host and grand master Tommy Chang, and proceeded to break a few boards at centre ring, much to the crowd’s delight.

The premier was accompanied by Minister of Sport Neil Lumsden, Markham-Unionville MPP Billy Pang and 5th Dan black belt Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of  Mental Health and Addictions.

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