By PETER CRNOGORAC
Special to The Daily
Sarah-Lynne Knockwood likes to knock
people around. As a taekwondo enthusiast, it goes with the
Knockwood, 16, got involved with the
martial art three years ago and has rapidly risen up the
ranks. In the last year alone, she has won 11 medals,
including gold at the open world championships last month in
"I went down (to Florida) thinking I
didn't come all this way for nothing," said Knockwood, who
lives in Enfield. "I wanted to win the gold. So many people
worked hard to get me down there, and I wanted to bring
something back to them."
Knockwood won three matches in the
under-16 lightweight division, the first against an opponent
from Great Britain and the second against a tough fighter
from the Netherlands. In the final, she defeated another
girl from Great Britain.
"By that time, I started to relax and was
able to fight my own way" she said of her last bout.
An all-around athlete who plays for her
school basketball and rugby teams, Knockwood got involved
with taekwondo almost by accident.
She had known very little about the
sport, which originated in Korea and is characterized by
fast, high and spinning kicks.
"I was a boxer first, but decided I
wanted to do kickboxing," said the Grade 11 student at Hants
East Rural High School. "While looking around for a
kickboxing club, she came across a taekwondo club in
Dartmouth and decided to join."
Her instructor, Dave McKenna, saw a spark
in his new student from the outset.
"Some people in the club don't get
serious right away but Sarah has been serious about
taekwondo from Day 1," he said. She’s very consistent.
Besides the world championships, for
which she stepped up from a red belt to a black belt in
order to compete, Knockwood also won gold at the Pan
American championships and the Indigenous Games, held this
year in Winnipeg.
The latter accomplishment held special
significance for the Mi'kmaq, who is a member of the Indian
Brook Band. "I was proud of that win," she said.