Rodriguez Wins International Taekwondo Gold Medal
When Ceana Rodriguez was just five years old, her godfather took her to a Taekwondo tournament and she immediately became inspired. While at the tournament, she exclaimed “I can do this too!” and started kicking in the air. Upon arriving back home, Ceana’s parents decided that they would bring her to a Taekwondo studio. They chose Yousef’s Taekwondo School in New Britain and from there, she moved up in the ranks at a fast rate. However, her father and coach, Pablo Rodriguez, knew that she could only go so far at the local level so they decided to take her to the national stage.
“As female athlete in the Sport Taekwondo, we would travel across the country looking for the best competition on the east coast,” he said. “New England is very limited as far as sparring competitor so to maximize our effort we joined AAU Taekwondo. I believe because of the people, coaches and instructors, she has accomplished so much as young age.”
Indeed, she has been very successful. Since 2006, she has participated in close to 100 competitions around the country and has won over 70 gold medals. This hard work was rewarded earlier this year when she was named to the United States National Team. Her father says that when she found out she made the United States National Team, the very first thing she said was, “Make sure you tell everyone where I am from!”
Just recently, she represented the United States at the 2013 Toronto Taekwondo Open Championship, hosted by the World Taekwondo Federation Association of Canada and sanctioned by Ontario Taekwondo Association. Rodriguez, who is only 14-years-old, won a gold medal in the Black Belt 15-17 Junior Elite Olympic division, defeating the Canadians. At this event, there were over 1,200 athletes, coaches, and referees in attendance. They hailed from countries all over the world including Switzerland, India, USA, Colombia, and Canada.
Before Toronto, Rodriguez was already having a successful year, winning titles at the 2013 Taekwondo Champion Open and 2013 Gold Cup Championships, where she is now the five-time defending champion in that event. Both of those competitions were held in Flushing, New York.
However, despite all of her accomplishments, Ceana is like every other teenager. She is a freshman at New Britain High School and is a part of the Honors and Bio Medical program at the school. Before attending New Britain High school she went to Pope John Paul II Catholic School, where she was the school president and member of the National Junior Honor Society.
According to her profile on the USA Taekwondo website, she enjoys playing soccer, eating fried foods before competitions, and her favorite book is I am Number Four. Fittingly, her favorite quote is, “Without dreams, I would not have goals.”
Ceana’s dreams of dominating the Taekwondo circuit have certainly become a reality. She will now work to continue her success and to make an even bigger dream a reality when she goes to compete in the Junior Taekwondo World Trials and represent the United States in New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.
While a win would be nice, her ultimate goal is to one day make the United States Olympic team and win a gold medal for the USA. She is inspired by Jon Olsen, who hailed from New Britain and won four Olympic gold medals.
Ceana may be young, but after getting to know who she is, it’s no secret as to why she has accomplished so much. Her maturity is beyond her age and she has the drive and dedication it takes to become the very best at her spot. When asked why she fights, she smiled and said, “I don’t fight just for me. I fight for the USA, Connecticut, New Britain and the Rodriguez clan.”