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The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine
Friday, June 23 2017 @ 01:15 PM EDT
The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine
Friday, June 23 2017 @ 01:15 PM EDT
The Paramus Post - Greater Paramus News and Lifestyle Webzine

New York Teen Seeking To Become The First Female Ever To Compete In Taekwondo Paralympics


At age one, Long Island, NY Resident Brianna Salinaro was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Her childhood was amassed with physical challenges, therapies and vicious bullying by classmates. Salinaro refused to succumb to this onslaught of tribulations and at nine years old, she joined Ultimate Champions Taekwondo.

Before the age of eighteen, Salinaro earned her blackbelt and has also attained a second degree black belt as well as becoming a 2017 para national team member (the first female para athlete to represent the United States), and a world champion.

In Brianna Salinaro Own Words:

Growing up with Cerebral Palsy was and continues to be extremely difficult. As a kid I always understood that I was different but never understood why. I found myself always asking "Why me?". I was always frustrated with myself because I knew how I wanted my body to perform but could never execute the correct movements. From the time I gained the ability to walk until today my body has been covered in cuts, bruises, and scars due to a lack of coordination and balance.

Despite my insecurities I still participated in sports, gym class, and recess. I may have been picked last at every team activity but I didn't care because I enjoyed the game. From the time I was a little girl I was always interested in martial arts. I decided to pursue my interest when I joined Ultimate Champions Taekwondo when I was nine years old.

In 2017 I hope to accomplish the following; earn my 3rd degree black belt, 2017 para national champion, para Pan American Champion, and para world champion in both the k42 and k44 sparring divisions. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 I hope to maintain my title of US Open champion in both the k42 and k44 sparring divisions. Throughout 2018, 2019, my goals consist of competing in  and being successful at whatever tournaments necessary to qualify me for the 2020 Paralympics. My ultimate goals are to compete in the first ever Taekwondo Paralympics in 2020, and to become number one in the world in the k44 sparring division as well as maintain my number one world ranking in the k42 sparring division.

I need to raise money in order to cover the expenses of traveling, training, coaching fees, and room and board. I'm not being funded by the United States Taekwondo federation at this time and I am currently a freshman at Sacred Heart University therefore I do not have a lot of time to work. My 2017 tournament schedule is as follows; Asian Para Taekowndo Open in Korea during the month of July, US National Champions in Michigan during July, Para Pan American Championships in Costa Rica during August, and the Para Taekwondo World Championships in London this October.

Para Taekwondo will make its Paralympic debut in the 2020 Paralympics which means it is a relatively new sport especially for the United States. From the time Para Taekwondo was started in the United States which wasn't too long ago until the year of 2016 the national team consisted of only men. As of February of 2016 I was the first female para Taekwondo athlete to represent the United States at an international tournament. I'm also the first female athlete to compete in the K42 -58kg sparring division in the world which means I'm currently ranked number one in the world. I'm also ranked number twelve in the world in the K44 -58kg sparring division.

Having the privilege of being the first female para Taekwondo athlete for the United States as well as the first fighter in the world with Cerebral Palsy is truly a blessing. To essentially be a pioneer in the sport of para Taekwondo is a humbling and exciting experience. I've been blessed with the ability to show the world that you are able to accomplish your dreams through perseverance and hard work. Not only did I defy doctors limitations and the doubts of peers and family members but I have defied my own limitations and doubts. I could not be more thankful to have been blessed with these titles and opportunities.

Growing up with Cerebral Palsy was and continues to be extremely difficult. As a kid I always understood that I was different but never understood why. I found myself always asking "Why me?". I was always frustrated with myself because I knew how I wanted my body to perform but could never execute the correct movements. From the time I gained the ability to walk until today my body has been covered in cuts, bruises, and scars due to a lack of coordination and balance.

In order to make history by competing in the 2001 Paralympics, friends of Salinaro have set up a GoFundme page here:

https://www.gofundme.com/2dj9nk3g      

Salinaro wishes to represent with honor not only her country but her community. Salinaro appreciates any help the community is willing to offer.

More about Brianna Salinaro

https://backinthegame.hss.edu/story/brianna-salinaro

 

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