TIGARD, Ore. -- Some in the Portland area are feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma from thousands of miles away. That includes a talented local Taekwondo athlete with dreams of Olympic gold.
Melina Daniel, 17, of Tigard, has competed in Taekwondo tournaments for 12 years. She’s one of the best athletes in the state after claiming an Oregon state championship. “It’s always been my getaway,” said Daniel of the sport.
Her hopes of advancing her career are facing a setback, though.
Daniel and several other Taekwondo athletes had planned on traveling to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for an Amateur Athletic Union competition. The tournament was canceled due to Hurricane Irma.
The event was set to feature some of the best athletes from the across the country. Daniel says that winning the tournament would earn the champion a spot on the national AAU team, a potential path towards competing in the Olympics, she says.
“I was pretty frustrated, because I was pretty confident that I was going to do well. And I had been training really hard for it,” said Daniel of the cancellation.
As of now, Daniel says it’s not clear if or when the competition would be rescheduled.
If the AAU trials aren't rescheduled, Daniel will be forced to compete in a new age bracket for next year. As a result, she’d have to win qualifying tournaments all over again. “It’s pretty frustrating that I couldn’t make it,” said Daniel. “Because I was really hopeful that I would be able to this year. I can’t really control it.”
If Daniel is forced to start over, she says the first AAU tournament she’d compete in would be in early 2018.