Paola Teran, a 12-year-old Brownsville resident and Tae Kwon Do national champion, will compete at the World Championship in Uzbekistan, Asia, in August.
Teran is a 6 th grader at St. Mary’s Catholic School and has been practicing Tae Kwon Do since she was 2 years old. She will represent Mexico in the championship but has also competed in U.S. nationals such as the Athletic Amateur Union where she received a gold medal on July 4.
“She has dual citizenship, that’s why she has the opportunity to represent Mexico and she competes in the U.S. team at the same time, but she was able to qualify earlier in Queretaro, Mexico,” her mom Laura Teran said.
Paola’s father, Estuardo Teran, is her main coach and said Tae Kwon Do is a family tradition he has implemented on his other two children as well. Teran owns the Victory Tae Kwon Do Academy where Paola trains two hours a day. Victory Tae Kwon Do Academy was founded 18 years ago.
“ This is a family tradition to us. Her sister who is now 22 years old started practicing when she was 3 years old and my son also started when he was 3 and Paola started when she was 2 years old,” Estuardo Teran said.
Paola is one of the youngest athletes to be selected to participate in the World Championship. According to her dad, children usually are selected to participate when they are 14 years old or older, but Paola was selected when she was just 11 years old.
“ She practices very hard, she is very dedicated, she has a lot of discipline and for me, as a coach and as a father, it is a double satisfaction to see her fighting on the ring and on the competition,” her father said.
Her brother, Estuardo Teran Jr. also coaches Paola on his free time from college. He said he loves the sport and is very happy that his sister will attend the championship and meet the greatest athletes.
“I had the opportunity to go as well and there were many competitions that I went to, and now, that I left to college I feel that I can continue enjoying the sport watching her compete,” Teran Jr. said “Helping her as a coach is something that I really love.”
Paola will leave to Mexico City on July 22 to train at the CNAR (Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento), a high performance training center, and will depart on Aug. 3 to Uzbequistan where she will compete four days later.
“ It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and It is going to be tough for her but she has all the credentials needed,” Laura Teran said. “She has to believe in herself and know that as a family we are here to support her in all that she decides to do.”