TAEKWONDO: Olympic Selection Committee chooses women's light/welter division as second female weight TAEKWONDO: Olympic Selection Committee chooses women's light/welter division as second female weight class to attempt to qualify for London.
Photo: Darrell Hennek - Sanaz Shahbazi at the 2010 U.S. Open.
The USA Taekwondo Olympic Selection Committee met in Colorado Springs on Tuesday to determine the second and final women's weight division that the U.S. will attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After lengthy deliberation, the committee selected the light/welterweight division (over 57kg, not exceeding 67kg) to compete at the World Olympic Qualifier in Baku, Azerbaijan, June 30-July 3.
The individual representing the U.S. will be determined from a best-of-three fight-off between U.S. National Team lightweight member Sanaz Shahbazi (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and U.S. National Team welterweight member Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.). That fight-off will take place on June 2 in conjunction with the ESPN Rise Girls Festival and USAT Women's National Qualifier in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
"Speaking on behalf of the committee, I can state that this was a most difficult and close decision," said USA Taekwondo CEO David Askinas. "Many of the athletes in the contested weight categories had compelling factors in their favor but in the end only one division could be chosen. We now stand ready to support Paige or Sanaz to secure the Olympic qualifying place."
The winner of the women's light/welterweight fight-off will join women's bantam/featherweight Diana Lopez (Sugar Land, Texas), men's bantam/featherweight Terrence Jennings (Alexandria, Va.) and men's light/welterweight Steven Lopez (Sugar Land, Texas) at the World Olympic Qualifier in Azerbaijan. A top-three finish at that event earns the athlete a berth on the 2012 Olympic Team.
In addition to Askinas, the Olympic Selection Committee consisted of USAT Director of High Performance Meredith Miller, National Team Head Coaches Jean Lopez and Juan Moreno, Assistant National Team Head Coaches Elizabeth Evans and Kevin Padilla, USOC AAC Representative Barb Kunkel, and USAT AAC Representative Jason Han.