Sawler kicks her way to TKD gold

WELLINGTON: Carly Sawler owes thanks to many people for her national gold medal at the Canada Open.

Sawler, 17, of Fall River came home first at the competition, held recently in Montreal. She stood atop the podium proudly representing Inner Strength Tae Kwon Do in Wellington ahead of an American Tae Kwon Do fighter and a representative from Australia. There were 39 countries competing.

Going into the final seconds of the final, Sawler said she trailed and it looked like she would have to settle for silver.

“But I then landed a kick on the body that landed me the points I needed to take the gold,” said the still beaming Sawler, a Lockview High School student. “I was super happy.”

Sawler said she had a lot of good fights in Montreal that helped her gain valuable experience.

“It was a fun competition,” she said.

What does it mean to win gold? She doesn’t take all the credit for her success, pointing to Master Porter and her fellow athletes.

“It wasn’t just me, I had a lot of help,” said Sawler. “I had a lot of help from my coaches and teammates. I have a lot of fun training with them.”

Sawler is already setting her sights on two competitions in early 2018.

“I plan to go to Canadian nationals in late January and then the U.S. Open in early February,” she said.

She said it hasn’t been easy to become as successful as she has.

“It’s been a lot of hard work and training, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Sawler. “It’s been all worth it.”

Noah Gillis, who also competes with Inner Strength, brought home bronze from the Commonwealth Tae Kwon Do Championships where 13 countries participated.