Kendall Yount, a Centre College rising sophomore, can now add American Taekwondo Association (ATA) World Champion to an already star-studded resume that also includes Junior Olympic gold medalist in Taekwondo.
Yount competed in the 2017 ATA Taekwondo World Championship in Little Rock, Arkansas, bringing home two titles. She won the individual title, where she had four different fights to compete for the gold medal. In this division, she did not get a point counted against her in any of the fights. The second title was in the USA Team sparring, where the team competed against Brazil.
“We had a very tough match against team Brazil in the finals, but we were able to pull off the win in the end,” she said.
Two days after the ATA World Championships, Yount competed in the 2017 World Expo in Little Rock. While this tournament is not part of the world championships, it still counts for points in the ranking system for the new season.
“I was fortunate enough to also win this tournament, which starts me off in the new season as top seed,” she said. “Earning the title of world champion is a goal that every world-class athlete dreams about but few ever achieve. I feel so blessed and excited about the future of my athletic career.”
Upcoming events include competitions in Detroit, Michigan, for the USA Taekwondo Nationals and Taiwan for the 2017 Summer World University Games, where she will represent Team USA and Centre College. “My goal is to make it to the medal rounds at this tournament so that I qualify to compete at team trials later this year,” she said.
Before Yount competed in the ATA World Championship, she spent five weeks in Costa Rica as a Lincoln Scholar. While in Costa Rica, Yount had the opportunity to train with the Costa Rican National Team to prepare her for the competition in Arizona.
When Yount wasn’t training with the national team, she was working with the Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children (FIMRC), a non-profit organization that improves the health of families in the developing world through implementing health improvement programs.
“As a pre-med student, this experience was a really authentic way for me to dive into the realities of Costa Rican healthcare, especially for those without insurance,” Yount said.
Between working for FIMRC and training for the world championships, her days started early and were nonstop throughout the week, with a full day of training on Saturdays and site-seeing with her fellow Lincoln Scholars on Sundays.
“Every morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. and went to FIMRC, where I worked in various departments such as the psychology room, the exam room and the pharmacy until 4 p.m.,” she explained. “I immediately drove from FIMRC in Alajualita to the national gym in Pavas, then trained from about 5-7 p.m.”
Even though Yount faced a crazy schedule, her biggest takeaway from the experience was the time management and camaraderie, two factors that prepare her for her future in the medical field and athletic career.
“I think some people are doubtful that athletes can balance both categories in their life well, but with the support from others that I have been so blessed to have, a strong faith, determination and focus, I believe that anything is possible,” she concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
July 7, 2017