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LAU kicks off taekwondo activity after national championship successes


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From left: Mohamad Chehadeh (silver, middleweight), coach Mark Rjeily, Mohammad-Mahdi Yassine (gold, heavyweight), and Mazen Chehab (bronze, below 78 kg).


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Yassine (right) salutes his opponent before a national championship match.

February 18, 2009—

LAU’s Athletics Office in Beirut is launching a new taekwondo activity this spring. Coach Mark Rjeily, who teaches the TKD Physical Education course, came up with the idea after the achievements of his three students in the Taekwondo National Championship for the yellow belt about two months ago.

The activity will be open to all students said Rjeily, who emphasized the importance of women’s involvement as well.

Participants will be able to learn about the basic techniques and rules of taekwondo, a martial art of hand strikes and mainly kicks that is divided into yellow, blue, red and black belts and into eight weight categories.

The activity will also provide students with the chance to compete against students from different universities in upcoming tournaments such as the taekwondo inter-university championships in late February and May.

The first participation of LAU students in a national championship at the end of November 2008 ended with promising results: gold medal in the heavyweight category, silver in the middleweight group, and bronze in the lightweight (below 78 kilograms) division.

The champs, Mohammad-Mahdi Yassine, Mohamad Chehadeh and Mazen Chehab, said that the taekwondo class they took with Rjeily in the fall semester was a fun learning experience. Being more practical than theoretical, the course taught them to be self-confident and fast decision makers.

“When you enter into the fight, the first thing is to trust yourself and make the other fear you,” said Yassine, the gold medalist. “I learned how to think and act fast,” added Chehadeh, the silver medal winner.

Rjeily praised the three medalists for ranking high in spite of the short preparation period. He had only two months to look for and select students with certain physical and mental capabilities. “A good taekwondo player is disciplined and motivated to excel in what he does,” he said. “The player needs a strict diet, continual training and mental preparation,” he added.

After evaluating the students, he found that Yassine, Chehadeh and Chehab could play on a national level, because they were interested in competing and winning. Such kind of motivation is the key to success, according to Rjeily, who looks forward to training more students.


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