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Labrador City Athlete to represent Province at National Taekwondo championships

Danielle Penney with her coach, Master Harry T. Cormier.
Danielle Penney with her coach, Master Harry T. Cormier.

Danielle Penney of Labrador City signed up for the martial art of Taekwondo when she was just seven, and now at 16 is heading to the Canadian national championships in Calgary, AB from May 25 to the 28.

"One of my cousins and family members got me interested," she told the Aurora, and she's being moving ahead ever since.

"It's fun, keeps you fit, and you have to learn discipline.”

Her commitment to the sport has seen the sixteen-year-old Grade 11 student move to the level where she now has her second-degree black belt.

"Earlier on I was interested in moving from belt to belt, but as you move on, it takes more time between belts," Penney explained to the Aurora. "Right now my biggest desire is to improve."

Training takes a lot of time and effort. Penney says she trains three or four days a week, and usually runs on her off days.

"As I get closer to competition, that might increase to six days a week."

Master Harry Cormier has been Danielle's coach since she started.

"She has what it takes to succeed" he said.

"She doesn't miss classes, she's a great listener, and willing to learn," he says of Penney. "She's a big part of the club, helping some of the younger members. She teaches, and even has the maturity to be able to take the younger members to provincial competitions."

He said she learns from her failures and doesn’t see losing a fight as a bad thing, she she’s it seen as a lesson in what not to do the next time and how to improve.”

And that seems to be working well.

Earlier this spring at the Atlantic Championships Penney took gold medals in both her fights.

"I try to be mentally prepared as well as Physically," Penney told the Aurora. "It's important that you not let your competitor intimidate you.”

As for the Nationals, she's aiming at doing her best.

"You need lots of experience at that level of competition before you start winning " she explained .

This is the first time in 10 years that there have been people from this province at the National competition, coach Cormier says, so we're excited .The other two are Allie Greene of St. Johns and Issac Crane of Bay Roberts.

As for Penney, she's content to keep moving along at a slow and steady pace .

"My goal is to improve as much as I can even though there's not a lot of competition in the area , I'd love to be among the best in the sport in Canada and the world," she said .

Penney says she was inspired by Olympic gold medal curler Mark Nichols from Labrador City, who spoke at the towns athletic awards banquet.

"He's proof positive that people from small towns can be the best in the world, just look at all his accomplishments," she said. "I've trained hard, I've got support from my coach, my club, my friends and family, I'm feeling good about this opportunity."

Coach Cormier says the Nationals will be another goal reached for Penney and another building block in what's looking to be a promising future for one of the provinces best in the martial art of Taekwondo.

We've all heard of the phrase Lucky Penny, this is one Penney that's where she is today because of hard work, dedication and discipline. Expect that Penney to shine.

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