The most recent gold medal won by the South/West Park School fourth-grader, during the AAU Pacific District Championships at San Francisco State University on May 4, is his ticket to two national tournaments.
He will compete in the National AAU Youth & Adult Taekwondo Championship from July 1 to 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the AAU Junior Olympic Games, which take place July 26 to 28 in Detroit.
Saini specializes in forms — in particular, the black belt form of koryo. At the San Francisco event, he concentrated on doing his best.
“I was just happy I wasn’t scared or anything,” he said. “I need to work hard to get first again. I have to work harder than before.”
Saini runs through his koryo form 10 times each morning and 10 times in the evening. He plans to add one more afternoon workout to get ready for national competition.
The 9-year-old earned his black belt two years ago at Y.G. Lee Taekwondo Academy in Campbell and will be tested for his second-degree black belt in December.
Three times a week, Saini travels to Campbell for classes. He participates in three hour-long classes each time, including the school’s advanced class and black belt class. He also will take on the instructor’s role in white belt classes.
“It’s taught me to be a better, stronger person, be disciplined, to focus, and to never give up and finish what I always begin,” Saini said.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.