Monroe teen captures gold medals at USA Tae Kwon Do Jr. Olympics

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:33

Monroe - Samantha Gardella of Monroe won two gold medals during the USA Tae Kwon Do Junior Olympics, held in Orlando, Fla., from June 28 to July 4. More than 4,300 competitors attended the week-long competition held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. They had multiple age divisions and belt divisions. This was Samantha’s first appearance at the Junior Olympics. She competed in the 14-17 age group. Samantha, 14, received a gold medal in the multi-directional wood-breaking division and then won a gold medal in the weapons division, receiving the highest scores of the day for weapons. She also finished fifth in the forms division. Samantha is a second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and has won many national and world titles. She trains with Master David Jenne at Core Martial Arts in Monroe. In Tae Kwon Do, Samantha is a red belt and has been training under the guidance of Master Jose Torres, Team Torres Martial Arts Training Center in Burlington, N.J. The young athlete travelled two to three times a week for her training to prepare for the Junior Olympics. Samantha will be travelling this August to Seoul, South Korea, for a 10-day trip with Grandmaster Ho Sik Pak of California. Samantha and about 30 other Americans will be participating in training sessions as well as performing demonstrations with other martial artists from various areas of the United States.