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Taylorsville Teen Takes Fourth Place in Tai Kwon Do World Championships in Korea

Sep 15, 2015 10:27AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Janiry, age 16, qualified to represent the USA in the Tai Kwon Do World Championships in Muju, Korea. She is pictured here, bottom right, with her USA team. Before the championships, Mora and the USA team trained together for four days. Photo courtesy of Janiry Mora

By Jessica Thompson

Taylorsville - You could say Janiry Mora’s life has become a lot like the hit movie “The Karate Kid.” In this 1980s classic, the lead character, Daniel, works hard to overcome opposition through dedication, training and perseverance. In the end, Daniel comes out on top. 

Two main differences between this film and Janiry’s story, however, are that she is a first-degree black belt in Tai Kwon Do and her story is real. Janiry, a 16-year-old from Taylorsville, has been doing Tai Kwon Do for seven years. When it comes to preparing for tournaments, she conditions for seven hours a day and runs five miles. 

“Since I was little, I loved everything about the martial arts, from the colored belts to kicking. It feels great to be a part of such a unique sport that not a lot of people do,” said Janiry.      

In May of 2015, she participated in an international tournament in California. If she won first place, she could qualify to attend the Tai Kwon Do World Championships. Last year, at this same tournament, Janiry placed second, being inches away from participating in her dream of fighting in Korea. This year, she was determined to qualify for the World Championships. 

“With Tai Kwon Do you need to have a lot of determination and discipline. I have told myself I’m not allowed to think ‘I can’t do this.’ Instead I just tell myself to work hard and hopefully I will be able to do it later,” she said.

 With this attitude of hard work and perseverance, Janiry placed first in her age and weight division and qualified to represent the USA at the June 2015 Tai Kwon Do World Championships in Korea.

“It felt really good to qualify for the championships, and I was very excited to compete with people from around the world,” she said. 

Janiry went to Korea about a month before the championships to condition and train with the other Tai Kwon Do USA representatives. When the day came to compete, she was nervous. 

“Before a match, when I can see my opponent getting ready and I am waiting my turn, I get super nervous. I start thinking I am not as good as she is, which makes me scared to fight; but once I am fighting with her, I forget everything and just go for it and do my best. It’s a great adrenaline rush,” she said. 

Janiry performed though the nerves and it paid off. Out of participants from 12 different countries, she received fourth place in her individual weight, age and belt color division. Going to the semifinals was very important to her because, with this being her first World Championship tournament, she didn’t think she would get very far in the competition. 

Not receiving a medal saddened Janiry until the next day when she and her USA team took third place overall in the championships. Hard work, along with the success of her team members, made it possible for Janiry to take home a medal from Korea. 

“Getting fourth and third place at the World Championships felt really good and rewarding,” she said.

Janiry’s mother, Carmen Mora, is proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.

“I am very happy and grateful that all the sacrifices Janiry has made and all the sacrifices the family has made have all been worth it so far,” Mora said. 

Janiry’s example of hard work and dedication is a great example for other youth who want to follow their dreams.

“Never give up. It can be hard at first, but keep pushing at it because once you make it, everything is worth it,” she said.


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