Houston has one more person to be proud of.
Local athlete Salish MacDonald went to the World Karate and Kickboxing World Championship in Orlando, Fla., held Nov. 8-13, and returned with two bronze medals.
“Competition was intense, intense,” MacDonald said. “In the age category below me, I was watching people, like, you know, getting knocked out. It was nerve-wracking but I had to put that aside to do well and to focus on the competition.”
This marks the first time MacDonald has competed at the international level, where he earned a bronze in continuous fighting and team continuous fighting, which requires athletes to show control and domination of the fight, and he said he plans to do it again.
He went in with an open mind, not expecting much.
“You couldn’t really expect anything,” MacDonald said. “You had to know that you’ve trained hard but you also couldn’t expect that it would be easy.”
“I was hoping I’d get a medal, of course, but I got two. I didn’t expect that.”
One of his coaches, Tareq Abu Khadra, said he was “impressed” by MacDonald’s performance.
“Salish did amazing, he fought the way he was supposed to. Just like anyone else, he got tired the last 30 seconds but he pushed himself well until that point,” Abu Khadra said. “You train to achieve and perform a certain way, and he did that.”
His father, Darren MacDonald, said his son has achieved and learned a lot, in addition to making friends.
“The thing I’m most proud of Salish for is the training that he put in going there. Four times a week, and two hours to three hours every time,” Darren said. “It was that I was most proud of. Never did I get arguing, never did I get, ‘I don’t want to.’”
“Going into that, I knew Salish was as prepared as he could be and sometimes things go well on competition day and sometimes they don’t, and they went really well for him.”
The MacDonalds took a gruelling flight from Prince George, with two transfers, before reaching Orlando. Darren spectated and said he could feel the energy and bravado of the spectators of all nations.
“Basically, I was lucky enough to sit front row for the opening ceremony,” Darren said. “And, watching that all take place was truly spectacular. As soon as the opening ceremony was over, you knew it was a world-class event. There were thousands of athletes with unbelievable spirit.”
“The level of competition is unlike anything that I have seen. Everyone was very prepared. Very, very, good quality.”
Salish was the sole competitor in the British Columbia contingent to come from Houston. The other nine came from Smithers. Salish said his eventual goal is to go to the world championship again.
“I know the competition isn’t going to get any easier. So letting off my training is definitely something that’s going to happen,” Salish said. “Provincials is in March but to qualify for Worlds, I have to qualify at provincials, nationals and then worlds. I can never left off the training.”