On July 4th, 18-year-old Potomac native Loraine Chow won bronze in the sport of taekwondo at the U.S. Senior Nationals in Detroit, Mich., qualifying for the senior national team trials in the spring of 2018, which will allow her to represent the United States at the Pan-American Championships later that year. The following year Chow is looking to compete in the World Championships, and has hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“I started at a local school and my mom started me,” she said. “I was trying to box but taekwondo was a better choice.”
Chow got into taekwondo in 2014. “I joined in late August 2015 a program called Peak Performance, and the head coach of the national program with locations around the country,” she said. “The location I joined was located in Virginia, and the coach Juan Moreno’s team and gym is in Miami.”
Some of Chow’s career achievements include: gold in the 2015 and 2016 Junior Maryland State Championships, gold in the 2016 and 2017 Senior Maryland State Championship, gold in the 2016 Virginia Junior and Senior State Championships, gold in the 2015 USA Taekwondo Junior National Championship, and most recently, bronze in the 2017 USA Taekwondo Senior National Championship.
“It’s super exciting,” Chow said. “It’s really gratifying to make improvements and to see myself on the podium and medal at these events. More than anything it’s really exciting and there’s so much more to come.”
Helping Chow along the way is her coach, Thomas Jenkins, who trains her in Annapolis. According to Chow, Jenkins is a major contributing factor to her success.
“Loraine’s a great athlete,” he said. “She’s an example of hard work, persistence, and she enjoys the process.”
Chow also suffered a hip injury before coming to Jenkins. “She came to us with an injury and after she went through surgery and physical therapy. She was full bore ready to come back. The hip for our sport is 100% essential to your success. You have to be flexible and you have to be able to kick with a lot of range, and if your hip doesn’t allow you to do that, your chances of succeeding are minimal. But she listened and understood she would go through some heartache before she reached some type of success.”
Two months ago, Chow graduated from Winston Churchill High School, where she was an honor roll student, a National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar, and a National Society of High School Scholars member. She has also won numerous academic awards, including the W.E.B. DuBois Academic Achievement Award of Excellence and the Certificate of Meritorious Service.
For the last six years, Chow volunteered as an assistant to her former second-grade teacher, working one-on-one with the students in addition to volunteering as a middle school tutor. “I have formed lifelong bonds and feel deeply connected to this community through my services,” she said.
This fall, she will be attending the University of Maryland to double major in Nutritional Science and English. According to Chow, Olympic taekwondo is self-funded and very costly, especially in addition to college tuition. “I am looking for recognition in my hometown media that can assist me when I look for sponsorships from local businesses,” she said. “I am proud to represent Maryland at national events and hope you are interested in supporting a local athlete.”