Carson City man headed to Taekwondo world championships

Chi Duong

Chi Duong

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Carson City’s Chi Duong is headed back to the World Taekwondo Championships at the age of 73.
He will likely be the oldest man competing in the event, scheduled for April 21-24 in Goyang, Korea.
What keeps him going back?
Gold …as in a gold medal.
“I promised my wife that I would keep going until I won a gold medal,’’ said Duong, referring to his wife, Phung, who died two years ago. “When I win a gold medal, then I will retire.”
Duong has come close in past competitions, winning bronze in his first competition in 2013, and silvers in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Duong has won plenty of golds in regional and national competitions to qualify for the world championships – including this time around.
He won gold in the 65-over division in the nationals in San Antonio in August and in the USA Team Trials in Colorado Springs in January.
There is a 70-over division at the U.S. team trials, but no one else was in it, so he remained in the 65-over division. There is no 70-over division in the World Championships, though there may be in the future.
“I wanted to compete against the best,’’ said Duong. “I was the oldest there and they were cheering me on. I loved it. The cheering motivates me.’’
Duong competes, though he no longer has an ACL in one of his knees.
“When I was teaching, I kicked toward a student's head, but stopped when I saw he couldn't block it and tore my ACL,’’ said Duong.
He has never had surgery to repair it.
“Sometimes, I need a cane to walk,’’ he said.
To prepare for competition, Duong swims two hours a day at the Carson City Hot Springs.
“I started doing one lap, but now I am up to 50 a day,’’ said Duong.
He has also practiced using paddle oars at Lake Tahoe.
The cheering keeps him going, at competitions, but superstition also drives him.
“If I stop competing. I’ll probably die,’’ he says with a smile.
Duong hopes to hear the U.S. National Anthem when on the podium this year. It only plays for those who win the gold medal.


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