Usa Taekwondo Team won first place in 2019 Lima Panamerican GamesMundotaekwondo spoke with Master Paul Green about the event.

M.T-. Congratulation for the results. 

PG. Thank you for the recognition and it’s nice to be able to talk to you.

M.T. It’s been an excellent preparation before these games, how was the preparation? Is it a team effort and other American nation coaches? 

Very much a team effort, where our focus has obviously been the sparring, but first of all the poomse team, coaches and USA TKD behind them did a fantastic job.

We led the sparring with 8 players , 2 Golds, 1 silver , and 3 bronze medals. This came from USA Tkd bringing together the club coaches, and national coaches working a great team effort across all the people involved to start a campaign that USA are moving forward.

M.T. USA has always been a team with great competitors such as the glories of the American taekwondo. How do you catalog the growth of the team compared to great teams of tradition in the area such as Mexico, Cuba, Colombia , Venezuela among others? 

Paul Green: At the moment together with USA TKD we are looking to start a full time program towards the end of the year where we can start to compete with the best in the world. This will give the players an opportunity to train professionally like the players who are winning on the big stage such as teams you mention like Brazil, Mexico and Cuba who have trained like professionals.

Their focus can start to be TKD and their individual elements of how to improve their game instead of worrying about school, jobs or in some cases in the USA the country is that big they don’t have options to train with anyone.
I think this will make the difference in years to come.
M.T. How has this experience been to start working with new generations of taekwondo in the US?
PG.- It has been slow, Gareth and myself are used to rushing results and wanting everything straight away, but USA are going through a change and these things take time. It has led to frustration but USA chairman ( Steve Mcnally) and PD ( May Spence) both have great visions for Taekwondo in their country to help get it to the top.
We have to make high performance changes step by step and the more access we get to the youngsters the more we see improvements.

 

M.T. While no one has a winning formula on what their Greene-Brown method is primarily based on?

How many training sessions do you do at your base of   Concentration?

P.G. Our winning mentality is based on trust between us, and similar values with the sport and modern training methods that are relevant and innovative. We have always encouraged athletes to maintain professional lifestyles on and off the mat, we make our training intense, competitive and above all a winning way or modern method which works and is individualised . This does not suit everybody but when you get the correct talent who buys in, then it’s a winning formula.

MT. USA is a young team compared to other teams on the continent, what is the average age?, example Anastasija Zolotic talk us about this promise of taekwondo 

PG. We have great experienced athletes amongst the team , but yes Ana is only 16 and makes many mistakes so the potential for her in the future is really big because technically / tactically she can only improve.

In addition we have to keep motivation and the mental side going with athletes like her. What she has done at that age is very rare she is a fantastic talent winning Senior Pan Am Games, and Bronze in Grand Prix (Rome).
She is just one example , we have athletes who didn’t even make the team who have fantastic potential and don’t even train full time.
Currently some have to train in garages at home with programs, some have great club coaches in USA..

 

MT. You  They projected these medals in these games? Or was it unexpected? 

PG. I believe our medal target was 5 and we surpassed it.

Gareth and I have a winning mentality so we always believe in the Athletes and possibilities, in the Pan Am Games we thought this was possible. Talents such as Jonathan Healey in men’s heavy weight , are so young but have really good potential and when these athletes who have talent start to believe in themselves and our process then things happen. This belief hasn’t hit everyone yet but in time it will grow.


 
MT. Does the final chapter of this Olympic cycle culminate in Tokyo 2020 what are your aspirations?

PG. Tokyo wasn’t the initial incentive for us, obviously I believe in the talented athletes we have for these games and if they start to train full time they will go from strength to strength. The vision for USA TKD is to be very strong in the home games in Los Angeles in 2028.

MT. How has your experience in the Americas been how you see the competitive level in terms of growth?

PG. It’s been very different from Europe who are lucky to have a great G circuit of competition easily accessible.

We moved to USA for this challenge and something different to help build a developing team. USA TKD have started a great initiative with talent ID camps to find talent across the country ( California, Florida, Detroit, Texas) which we can identify and eventually bring into our academy.

We put the athletes through difficult technical / tactical pressure and test matches to identify future modern attributes along side with a series of tests relevant for top level Taekwondo Athletes. So we will start to grow.

MT. After Tokyo 2020, what are your plans?

Give us a message to all those athletes who make taekwondo and do not give up their dreams!PG. Our plans are to keep building talent and hopefully grow USA to be a dominant force in the world.

For aspiring players it is difficult to break through now at senior Olympic level due to the point system but young athletes such Ana have proven this is very much possible to get in the WT top 10 ranking quickly.
So my advice would be to always think it’s possible, realise your talent and make your dreams happen , it’s possible for anyone with potential skill, but it is not an easy road. There will always be hardship and problems you have to over come.

Regardless it’s the journey that’s important not the outcome , even if you do not get your dream the person you become chasing it becomes much more powerful than the outcome.
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Yuberth Rodríguez
Fotos MT: Melina Baez Serrano-Ricardo Hernández. 
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