The Martial Art of Taekwondo has a strong international profile and is one of only two Martial Arts forms that can boast of being an Olympic sport (the only other is Judo) with practitioners in over 190 countries.
The origins of Taekwondo can be traced back to around the seventh century in Korea, where various forms of the modern style were practised and were known by a variety of different names. The name “Taekwondo” was finally agreed upon in 1955 as the official title of the style, which comes from a combination of the Korean words “Tae” (foot), “Kwon” (fist) and “Do” (The way of). So the word can be translated as “The way of the foot and fist”.
One of Australia’s leading exponents of Taekwondo is Carmen Marton. After being introduced to it at the age of eight, she gained international attention in her early teens, through winning a gold medal as a junior competitor at the Korean Open. At 14, Carmen became the youngest athlete from Australia to win selection on a senior National Team when she took part in the Taekwondo World Cup in Vietnam. From there, her medal tally at international events grew quickly, as she took silver in both the Junior Asian championships in Taiwan in 2001 and at the World Cup in Japan the following year. These tournament successes were followed by Carmen winning a bronze medal in 2003 at the Australian Youth Olympic festival and bronze again in the Asian Championships in Korea in 2004.
As an adult, Carmen’s achievements in Taekwondo have been equally impressive. She won bronze medals at the 2005 World Taekwondo Championships held in Spain, at the 2007 Olympic test event and again at the 2011 Universiade Games in China.
In addition to her Taekwondo skills, Carmen holds a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science which she obtained from Deakin University. She was able to combine her studies and the intensive training required for her career in martial arts through the assistance of Deakin’s Elite Athlete Program.
Carmen is also a two time Olympian, representing Australia in Taekwondo in 2008 at Beijing, where she made it to the quarter finals and again in 2012 at London, where she narrowly missed out on winning a medal, going down in the bronze medal final.
Carmen’s greatest victory to date was in 2013 when she won gold in the Women’s lightweight division at the Taekwondo World Championships in Mexico and become the first Australian to win gold in the discipline.
In between events, Carmen is lucky enough to never be short of a training partner, as her husband, Safwan Khalil, along with her brother, Jack and her sister, Caroline are all highly skilled Taekwondo athletes and competitors.
On the horizon for Carmen is the opportunity to defend her world title at the 2014 Taekwondo World Championships being held in July in Rome. Added to that is the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Brazil where, if selected to compete, Carmen will become Australia’s first three-time Olympian in the sport