Flora and Zora bring home the gold

Junior Zora Choi and sophomore Flora Dixit compete at Taekwondo World Championship


Photo courtesy of Chuen Choi

Flora Dixit, left, and Zora Choi, far right, pose at Taekwon-Do World Championships this summer. The girls helped the USA Junior Girls Team four medals at the international competition, including a gold medal in specialty techniques. Choi earned six individual medals, while Dixit earned five medals.

Feeling as if they were holding Captain America’s shield with the American flag on their backs, junior Zora Choi and sophomore Flora Dixit were presented with their team events medal, quite an accomplishment considering where they were last summer.
Choi and Dixit competed for the USA Junior Girls Team at the International Taekwon-Do Foundation (ITF) World Championship from July 29-31 in the Netherlands.
Choi earned six medals, including gold in specialty techniques (different variations of high kick) and silver in individual patterns (a set of techniques in a sequence). Choi was awarded the most medals on Team USA.
“I really enjoy competing,” Choi said. “[I] get that adrenaline rush.”
Dixit received five medals, including a bronze individual medal for special techniques.
Team USA earned a gold medal in specialty techniques, silver medals for patterns (set of techniques in a sequence with multiple people in sync) and power breaking (ability to break boards using hand and leg techniques), and a bronze for sparring (fighting).
“[The tournament] was by far one of my biggest achievements,” Dixit said.
Dixit has been training in taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, since she was four years old, while Choi has been involved with the sport since she was in fourth grade.
To earn spots on the team, Dixit and Choi had to compete at a qualifier in Houston, where each studio sent its top on March 26. In Houston, Choi and Dixit had to place among the top three in each division and have coaches select them for the team.
There were only seven girls chosen for the junior girls’ team.
When Choi was chosen for the team she actually felt surprised that she earned a spot. A few names later, Dixit was announced for the team as well. Both girls were excited and happy that they qualified for the team together.
When selected for the events team, Choi and Dixit couldn’t believe that they both got selected. Dixit said it was great that they both got selected (and other girls from their studio) because it brought more unity to the team.
Dixit said Team USA had a very strong bond with her teammates and played “High School Musical” songs during practice to help bring the team even closer together.
During the competition, Dixit went up against competitors from different countries, including ones in the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Italy, Argentina, Spain, and Malaysia. She said that Argentina was the hardest country to compete against because its team was government-funded.
Choi also went against some challenging countries in the tournament.
“Argentina was a big one [competitor]” Choi said.
Monte Vista junior Saran Nagubandi, a member of the USA Junior Boys Team, met Choi several years ago at Jue’s Taekwon-Do and said she’s very diligent in her training.
“[Choi] is the most hardworking person I know,” Nagubandi said.
Choi started training through San Ramon taekwon-do programs before joining her current studio, Jue’s Taekwon-Do in the Market Place, which she really likes. Dixit started training because she had a lot of energy and someone had recommended having her officially join a studio.
“[Taekwon-do] was just a way that I could just spend my time and I made a lot of friends,” Dixit said.
While Dixit moved to Jue’s Taekwon-Do about four years ago, Choi was actually one of the first students to join the studio. Dixit moved to Jue’s Taekwon-Do as a first-degree black belt and is now a second-degree. Choi also is a second-degree black belt.
“[Dixit] is very diligent in her training,” Derek Leung, one of her instructors at Jue’s Taekwon-Do, said. “She came as a black belt. It took her a long time to become a second-degree black belt, but she didn’t give up so she has a lot of perseverance in her training.”
Dixit worked very hard throughout her taekwon-do training and is currently debating whether to go to the next world championship to see if she has improved. She is also working toward her next belt, a third-degree black belt, and is hoping to potentially teach others in the future.
Choi is hoping to compete in the Taekwon-Do World Cup next summer which she said is rumored to be in South Korea.
One of Choi’s mentors, Val Leung, motivated Choi the most to keep on training.
“She is one of those people where you teach it once, and it will stick to her, and she will always try to implement that in everything she does,” Leung, an instructor from Jue’s Taekwon-Do, said. “So you see her consistently trying to improve herself and [get] better.”