MAIN PHOTO: National TKD gold is tasty for Katie Cox of Enfield. Cox won gold in Toronto and now has qualified for Pan Am TKD and World TKD championships this summer. (Healey photo)

ENFIELD: An athlete always dreams of donning their countries colours at big competitions at least once. Well, one young Enfield girl will get to do that not once, but twice this summer.

Katie Cox returned from the Taekwondo Nationals in Toronto, Ont. with the gold medal in the 55-kilogram junior division. The win punches her ticket to wear the Maple Leaf at the 2022 Pan Am Taekwondo Championship in Costa Rica in June and the 2022 World Taekwondo Championships in Bulgaria a couple months later in August.

“I’m very proud of myself for winning gold,” said Katie in an interview at the Enfield Tim Hortons. “It’s a very big accomplishment for me.”

The 16-year-old said her reaction was one that had her smiling ear-to-ear.

“In the moment, it just filled me with joy,” she said. “I was so happy.”

Katie, who competes out of Scotia Taekwondo in Halifax, said it’s going to be a busy summer for her, but one she’s excited about.

It’s not her first rodeo at winning at the nationals having won once before, and also competed and won silver at the Pan Am in 2019 in Portland; gold at the Canada Open in 2019 in Montreal; and another gold at an open Pan Am competition.

She will rely on that experience and her training to assist in her preparation for this summer of competitions.

The Hants East Rural High School student said she gets all fuzzy when she hears “Katie Cox, Gold medal winner in Taekwondo.”

“It makes me feel very happy because I’ve had a couple of things happened in the past year, and just winning this has made me realize that I’m still on top,” she said

She said at Scotia World Taekwondo there is a lot of positive energy. She has also learned a lot more from coach Jackson Carroll.

“It’s very positive, and I’m getting a chance to learn more,” Katie said.

With the two events coming up, Katie said she plans to do some fundraising and reach out to get grant support for being on Team Canada. Stay tuned for fundraising details.

She wanted to thank all those who are supportive of her.

“Thanks to my coach Jackson, my parents and my family,” she said. “They have supported me through this day and my coach really helped me push myself to do better at this tournament.”

Katie had a message to other young female athletes who are coming up in taekwondo that may look up to her.

“No matter what their thinking they just need to have a positive attitude and believe they can do it,” said Katie.

“Believing in yourself is a big part of it. I really believe in myself, and I’ve been doing really good.

“I think young girls should always believe in themselves and they’ll do amazing.”