Richard Sinn, 17, of Wootton High School earned a spot on the 1999 U.S. Junior National Taekwondo Team by winning a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in forms at the 19th U.S. Junior Olympic Taekwondo Championships July 12-17 in Las Vegas.
Sinn was one of four Montgomery County students to place in the top three. Thomas Lee, 7, of Silver Spring won a gold medal in sparring and a silver medal in forms in the 6-7 Black Belt Division, Matt Morgan, 13, of Germantown won a silver medal in forms in the 12-13 Black Belt Division and Danny Yoon, 17, of Gaithersburg won a bronze medal in forms in the 14-17 Black Belt Division.
"I am extremely proud of my kids," said Master Kun Tae Kim, who trains Lee, Morgan and Yoon at the International Martial Arts Center in Rockville. "They train so hard for so long. To see the joy on their face and their parents face makes it all worth while."
Kim said that forms is a set of patterns that requires creativity and flexibility. Sparring is a one-on-one competition that requires physical abilities and speed.
"If a person is creative and artistic, he usually scores higher in forms," said Kim, who served as state taekwondo coach in the early 1990s. "Sparring is more physical. You have to be fast, flexible and powerful. But most important, you have to have confidence in yourself."