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Taekwondo team wins big at national championships

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LAU students took home four medals at the Lebanese National Men's Taekwondo Championships. From left: Al Sharif Mohammad Safieddine (gold), Ayman Safa (bronze), and Yazan Abdel Al (gold). Ahmad Khatib (not shown in the picture) also won a gold.

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The team also won first place overall in the blue belt category.

November 12, 2010—

The LAU men’s taekwondo team won four medals and first place overall in the blue belt category at the Lebanese National Men’s Taekwondo Championships, held at Emile Lahoud Stadium on October 31.

More than 23 official clubs and around 150 players participated in the event. Though LAU had only four competitors, they finished strong with three gold medals, one bronze and the first place overall in the category of males over 18.

LAU students Ahmad Khatib (below 73 kg), Yazan Abdel Al (below 87 kg) and Al Sharif Mohammad Safieddine (below 68 kg) each took home gold medals, and Ayman Safa (below 80 kg) won a bronze medal.

“The LAU team had put in a lot of time, effort and dedication before this tournament. They came in ready and in shape to compete and take the pressure both mentally and physically,” says coach Mark Rjeily, who has been practicing taekwondo and other martial arts for 11 years.

Rjeily, who is also a part-time faculty member at LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences, has led the team since its establishment three years ago.

“We have won medals in every competition we’ve participated in. Last year, we won nine gold medals and two silvers at the Inter-Universities Taekwondo Championship [of the Lebanese Federation of University Sports], in addition to many gold and silver medals at the Nationals,” Rjeily says.

Sami Garabedian, director of Athletics at LAU Beirut, says the team members are among the most dedicated LAU student athletes.

“They hardly ever miss practice and always make that extra effort to bring the best out of themselves. Basically, they are all team players and have a lot of respect for their coach, who has been very committed,” Garabedian says.


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