Brothers Richard and Osvaldo Rodriguez have made taekwondo their passion in life at a young age, and it’s been paying off lately.
Richard, 10, and Osvaldo, 7, competed at the USA Taekwondo New York State Championships on March 16 at Queens College in Flushing, and they performed well enough to earn an invitation to nationals, which are set for July 3 to 8 in Chicago, Illinois. The brothers qualified for nationals last year but were unable to attend, but this year they will be making the trip, according to their father, David Rodriguez.
The boys, who live in Noyac and attend the Hayground School, train with Nelson Duque, who runs training sessions at Evolution Fitness in Southampton but also comes to the Rodriguez home for additional lessons. Duque also competes in adult divisions of taekwondo and is currently competing in Colombia.
The Rodriguez brothers compete and train on a year-round basis and have excelled at tournaments throughout the year, consistently placing in the top three in their divisions. Competitors are divided by both age and weight, and compete in both sparring (fighting) and forms divisions as well. They’ve excelled in sparring in particular, where Richard competes in the heavyweight division for boys age 10 and 11, while Osvaldo competes in the middleweight division for boys age 8 and 9.
Their father said that they will be focusing their efforts on training and preparing for nationals from now into the summer. He said he has been happy to see the progress his sons have been making in a relatively short time practicing the sport. He encouraged them to get involved with taekwondo because he had practiced the sport as a youngster and enjoyed it.
“I told them it was a great sport, and it’s good for balance and mental discipline,” he said. He added that he believes the rigorous training for the sport has translated into other sports as well and has seen both boys excel in other sports such as rugby and basketball.