MEET: Franchel Velázquez – Karateka
“My goal is to earn a place on the podium in the Karate World Cup!”
Name: Franchel Velázquez Oviedo
Place of Birth: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Birth Date: July 16, 1993
When did you start practicing Karate? I started when I was 10 years old, with another style of karate which is different from the one I practice today. When I turned 15, I entered the current style, Shito Ryu – Shito Kai.
What motivated you to practice this sport? Since I was little I always felt a great attraction for martial arts.
Which was your first tournament? A national tournament at Club Miramar.
In how many tournaments have you participated, locally and internationally? Locally in Dominican Republic: The Military Games, National Karate Tournament, University Games, Metropolitan Cup, among others. Internationally: In Junior Pan American Games or Sub 21 from 2009 to 2013, Adult Pan American Games from 2011 to the present day, Central American Games 2010 in Puerto Rico, in Central American Tournaments of Karate from 2011 to the present day, Bolivarian Games 2013, Pan American Shito Ryu – Shito Kai 2014 and 2015, and in the Dimitrova Cup 2015. All performed in countries such as Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Nicaragua, among others.
What is required to practice this sport? Exercises, good nutrition? Confidence? Well, if you want to be a high performance athlete you need to be in a very good condition, both physical and mental. Also, in a complementary way, physical works that help improve our performance of Kata (modality that I do in karate) as work of explosive force, speed, power, resistance, etc.
What is the best part of practicing this sport? It helps us to be organized and disciplined on a daily basis, so that we have a balance in our mental and physical health. Other advantages: our reflexes and reactions improve, our ability to think and understand, we acquire more resistance and patience, among others.
Which has been the most difficult tournament for you? The 2013 Pan-American Adult Championship.
What are your short and long term goals? In karate, in the short term, I want to work hard to become a Pan American champion in the individual Kata modality. In the long term, being able to represent the Dominican Republic in Kata, at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, as long as they make karate Olympic. I also want to earn a place on the podium in the Karate World Cup, and that our Dimitrova Dojo school continues to grow.
Do you belong to any Karate community or team? I belong to the Dimitrova Dojo Karate School, where I receive classes and teach. I am also part of the national team of the Dominican Republic, and Karate team of the Dominican Air Force.
Have you stood out within your community and received any recognition for it? If they have been several times, mention them all.
- In the newspaper Hoy, on the 20th anniversary of the Young Corner Vlll of 2013, in the sports section.
- At UNAPEC University, as an Outstanding Athlete of the January-May 2013 term.
- University Games 2016, as an outstanding athlete.
- In the National District Karate Association, as Athlete of the Year 2014.
- In the Dominican Shito Kai Association, as an Outstanding Athlete in 2013 and 2014.
Who motivates/inspires you to practice this sport? My mother, my karate buddies who train with me, the kids I teach, and each of my teachers.
Who are your favorite karatekas locally and internationally? Rika Usami, Kiyou Shimizu, Lim Chee Wei, Rimi Kajikawa, and Antonio Diaz.
How do you see this sport in some years in the Dominican Republic? How do you see the new generation that is integrating the community? Well, due to the great contribution that many very outstanding athletes have made, offering their knowledge to the generations that are coming up, it can be said that the new generation is emerging with a very good level of karate, which can be projected very far.
What recommendation would you give to people who want to start this sport (men, women and children)? Well, it doesn’t hurt to try it out and even if they do not take it as seriously as me or my colleagues, I think that karate gives you many new experiences that could help you in your day to day. For those interested and located in the Dominican Republic, you can email us at email@example.com.
To follow Franchel’s adventures closely, follow her on Instagram: @franchel_karate
Images: External Sources
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