Last weekend, Brittany Waite became a Canadian national silver medalist before she was even able to apply for her B.C. driving learner’s permit.
The Prince Rupert Taekwondo product earned second-place in the entire country when she fell in the final last weekend to Québec’s Thalya Bruna at the 2015 Canadian National Taekwondo Championships held in Montreal.
Waite and Brunal competed in the Elite Black Belt Kyorugi Junior Female 63-68 kg sparring category and it wasn’t the first time that the two had met in the ring.
“I beat her previously at the [Canada Open in February], but not [this time],” said Waite last Monday.
“She definitely trained [hard] over the past couple months. She did improve and I think she got a bit quicker.”
The 15-year-old, who turns 16 on July 5, fought in two sparring matches, typically lasting three rounds of two minutes each, with 30-second breaks, but it was a groin/hip injury that Waite sustained earlier in the year and re-tweaked in Montreal, that may have been the difference in the fight.
“Before I went to the Canada Open, [I hurt it]. I think it was because I overtrained. I was doing seven days a week training and I hurt my groin and sort of my hip a bit and so then I went to [February’s] open. During my fight I injured it even more and I was in a wheelchair for a little bit and crutches after that, so I had to rest it for about two months,” said Waite.
“I started training again for the nationals and it felt pretty good. It felt 90 per cent better, but it wasn’t as good as it was before. So it was kind of risky fighting again, but I knew I had to if I wanted to get more points,” she said.
Those valuable points are what enabled Waite to travel with Team B.C. to Montreal as one of seven participants on the team, led by Master Daniel Thornton, a Vancouver-based trainer.
Waite thought she knew what to expect, since February’s Canada Open hosted martial artists from a tremendous 27 different countries. But Montréal’s nationals still blew her away.
“It was still pretty big [considering all the Taekwondo artists just came from within the country]. It was in a huge sports arena. In the beginning I wasn’t really that nervous, but probably about an hour before my fight while I was warming up, I started to get really nervous,” said Waite.
The Rupertite travelled with her grandparents, Prince Rupert Taekwondo Master Paul Bozman and fellow Charles Hays Secondary School Rainmaker Rosendo Masocol to Montreal.
She’ll try and get her leg to 100 per cent and back to the point where, in November, she was able to knock an opponent out in 20 seconds with a 7-0 score at the 2014 B.C. Masters’ Cup in Vancouver.
In fact, Waite’s reputation is so widely known, that when it came time to weigh in for nationals, two fellow competitors typically fighting in Waite’s category, purposely moved up a weight class just so they didn’t have to spar against the Rupertite.
The all-around athlete, who plays and excels in soccer, basketball, hockey and volleyball, while also reffing in hockey, will get a further examination on her leg and take a short break before provincials and the US Open.
“I’m going to rest a bit and [after] I think I’m going to Vancouver for a week during the summer and train with Master Thornton and Team B.C.,” she said.
For now, she’ll enjoy her birthday and her new silver hardware.