H.S. freshman excelling at taekwondo

November 13, 2009 And he's gotten good at it. So good -- in fact -- that he is now a member of the United States Youth Olympic team.

English, 14, a freshman in the Morgan Park International Baccalaureate Program, is committed to being a good student. His passion is excelling in the sport of taekwondo. He started playing when he was only 5-years old.

Last Friday, English was one of six athletes selected during the Youth Olympic Games team trials at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center. The six winners will represent the U.S. at the qualification tournament in Tijauana, Mexico, in March. The athletes that place in the top finishers will qualify for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore

"For you to win the first Youth Olympic Games, that's a pretty big deal as a sport that challenges athletes to do their best," English said.

"When he actually won the Youth Olympic Games, it registered rationally, but emotionally I think I was so overwhelmed I couldn't cry," said mom Jinnie English.

His mother says the sport has helped her son to focus, to be respectful, courtesy and to persevere. He trains every day for several hours.

"Once I made the Youth Olympic Games team, they told me that I need to train harder, so I can have a better chance of winning, to qualify for the actual Youth Olympic Games in Singapore," Gregory English said.

"It's to really develop him and get in preparation for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games," said Jinnie English.

"He's a nice young man, humble about his skills, but still confident in what he can accomplish," said Beryl Shingles, Morgan Park High School.

Gregory English has a message for others interested in sports

"Find a sport or activity that's best for you," he said. "And just excel at it. Do your best at it. And it'll just make a difference in your life."

On Monday, English will be going to El Salvador to represent the United States in the Pan-American Games.

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