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Article updated: 1/13/2014 11:26 AM

Illinois taekwondo athletes chasing Olympic dreams

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By Brandon M. Noel

Under the aura of the United State Olympic Training Center, a small group of Illinois athletes competed in USA Taekwondo's Youth Olympic Game and National Team Trials this weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. The Illinois Taekwondo State Association is proud to recognize these athletes for their amazing achievements.

Elaine Esparza, of Blue Island competed for the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior National Team

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Favian Esparza, of Blue Island competed for the Junior National Team

Daniel Frausto, of Blue Island competed for the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior National Team

Alexis Gonzalez, of Blue Island competed for the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior National Team

Eduardo Elizalde, of Blue Island competed for the Senior National Team

Monzerat Perez, of Chicago competed for the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior National Team

Michelle Silva, of Chicago competed for the Senior National Team

Joushua Padilla, of Chicago competed for the Junior National Team

Matthew Michelin, of Chicago competed for the Junior National Team

Everardo Gonzalez, of Chicago competed for the Junior National Team

Shahira Nava, of Chicago competed for the Senior National Team

Nedra Medina, of Chicago competed for the Senior National Team

Mary Mark Alindogan, of Deerfield competed for the Senior National Team

Tyler Kennedy, of Evanston competed for the Junior National Team

Alexia Ceci, of Hanover Park competed for the Junior National Team

Taylor Gazzano, of Lakemoor competed for the Senior National Team

Zahria Williams, of Posen competed for the Senior National Team

Jeffery Williams, of Posen competed for the Junior and Senior National Teams

Laurissa Tanielu, of Posen competed for the Senior National Team

Makayla Gorka, of Shorewood competed for the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior National Team

The athletes earned the opportunity to compete in the National Team Trials at the Olympic Training Center by successfully placing in the Illinois Taekwondo State Championship and the USA Taekwondo National Championships that were held at McCormick Place in July 2013.

Placing in the top spot at this National Team Trial means that these athletes will earn a place on the USA Taekwondo National Team and could represent Illinois and the United States at taekwondo competitions around the world throughout 2014; earning points that could land them in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

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