Natalija Semjonova knows how to deliver a kick worthy of a gold medal.
While wrapping up her final semester in Sheridan’s Visual Creative Arts program, Semjonova also trained hard to compete in the World Taekwondo Open, held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, from March 18 to 28, 2016.
“Taewkondo has taught me patience and discipline. Instead of jumping headfirst into things, I’ve learned to think through them” – Natalija Semjonova
Semjonova has been diligently practicing Taekwondo since she was 10 years old, taking it up as a way to protect herself from a childhood bully. She trains with a prestigious coach who accepted her as his first senior athlete. The martial art has had a deep effect on her, beyond building strength and confidence. “Taewkondo has taught me patience and discipline. Instead of jumping headfirst into things, I’ve learned to think through them,” she says.
Preparation for the World Open was intense. In addition to perfecting her fighting technique, Semjonova also had to train her body to perform while experiencing the effects of the high-altitude environment that would await her in San Luis Potosi, which sits at 1,850 metres above sea level. This required her to wear a special high-altitude simulation mask while she trained for two hours a day, seven days as week, for the three weeks leading up to the tournament. While the adjustment was a struggle at first, she arrived in San Luis Potosi ready for the championship.
Hosted by celebrated Taekwondo champion and coach, Ireno Fargas, the World Open consisted of an eight-day training camp full of tactical training, fighting, and conditioning, as top participants from around the world were sorted into specific fighting categories based on their gender, age, and weight. The Open then culminated in a tournament – a series of one-on-one fights in each category that awarded points for kicks delivered to the head, to the body, or as spinning kicks.
After months of preparation, and eight days of high-intensity training, Semjonova won gold in her welterweight category, proudly representing both Canada and Sheridan.
What’s next for Semjonova ? She has her sights firmly set on her ultimate goal: competing in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan. She’s already training hard – this summer, she’ll journey to Serbia to train with Serbia Olympic team.
Pictured at top of page: Natalija Semjonova (second from left) poses with fellow medalists at the 2016 Taekwondo World Open
Written by: Carolina Salcedo, Internal Communications Officer at Sheridan.