“When you work with love, perseverance and interest, taekwondo accomplishes great things,” said the Colombian mother, speaking in a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of her daughter, Jhormary. “Though taekwondo, Jhormary has changed in unimaginable ways - including aspects of her life that medical therapies had not been able to overcome. “
Cordoba was speaking on the sidelines of the 5th WTF World Para-taekwondo Championships, just after her daughter, Jhormary Rojas, 32, had delivered an impressive performance in poomsae competition– a sub-category of taekwondo added to the championships for the first time in Moscow for those with intellectual disabilities.
If kyorugi (sparring) is the “martial” side of taekwondo, poomsae is the “art.” Athletes are required to perform a series of pre-choreographed, solo, set movements – “poomsae” - against an imagined opponent.
Jhormary Rojas was the only competitor to display two different poomsae; she also chose the most advanced patterns seen in the competition, Taebaek and Shipjin. Her performances were authoritative, displaying long, low stances and a clear expression of power that shook her dobok (uniform). Watching Rojas’ performance, one would be hard pressed to tell that she was in any way disabled. She ended with an overall score of 7.265.
Although the main draw at the championships was clearly kyorugi, the poomsae athletes pronounced themselves well satisfied with their event.
“I was very happy to be able to do the best I could,” said Rojas. “I chose those poomsae as they are the ones that give me the most satisfaction - they are my passion!”
Still, the most emotional person in the arena was not a competitor, a coach or an official - but one very proud mother.
Embracing her daughter after the event, Cordoba said, “I am at a loss for words when I think of all the great things that taekwondo has done for my daughter. As a mother, I would like to share it with those in a similar situation.”