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Taekwondo action takes to Flexihall floor in Yorkton

154 take part in 24th edition of event

YORKTON - The fists and feet were flying at the Gallagher Centre Flexihall Saturday at the 24th Annual Prairie Wildfire Taekwondo Challenge. 

With four sparring areas featuring matches throughout the day, Tournament Director Wayne Mitchell was just happy to see the event happening after two years of cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were all ready to go in 2020,” he noted, adding they ended up having to cancel just a couple of weeks before the event was supposed to be held.” 

So being back in action is important. 

“We’re very excited,” said Mitchell, who has operated Kees Taekwondo in Yorkton since 1994. He added in terms of the sport restarting around the world “Canada is about a year behind,” so it’s a big step to have events like Wildfire happening again. 

The one-day event had some 15 clubs involved, with participants from as far afield at Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Swift Current, with 154 registered. The youngest participants were three and four, with the oldest in their 40s, said Mitchell. 

“We’re usually pretty close to 200,” said Mitchell, adding there are some obvious reasons for lower numbers including some instructors having shutdown completely through the pandemic, and others simply not having enough practice the last couple of years to feel comfortable competing. 

Mitchell, who first became involved himself in the sport in 1980 did suggest numbers will be up again in 2023. 

“I’m expecting double (the 154),” he said, adding it will be a big year for the event as it marks its 25th year.