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Wong wins gold for Fiji

Zanzeer Singh
Monday, July 07, 2014

KATRIENA Cheryl Wong is Fiji's new martial arts sensation on the world stage.

The 19-year-old impressed at the third Macau International Wushu Festival last month.

Participating in the festival for the first time, she collected two gold medals and a silver medal.

Wushu is both an exhibition and a full contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts which was developed in 1949.

Katriena is part of the College of International Cultural Exchange program studying law in China on scholarship.

While Wushu is new to Katriena, she was not to martial arts being a student of the Lautoka Goju-Ryu Dojo for four years.

Lautoka Goju-Ryu Dojo head instructor Sensei Nitin Pala described Katriena as a go getter.

Pala said she had done the nation proud by winning gold medals in a sport that is not so familiar here.

"Wushu is unique and isn't practised much in Fiji," he said.

"So to take up a new sport and win medals at an international event in less than one year speaks volumes about the potential that Katriena has.

"She has a strong mind and it is good to see her try something new and achieve success. Katriena has a brown belt and won Kumite titles for our club at two national championships."

The Macau International Wushu Festival is held to promote international martial arts, cultural exchanges, enhance friendship and to help the attending martial artists to improve their skills.

Katriena attended Lautoka Arya Samaj and Lautoka Chinese Primary School. She is a former student of Tilak High School and is the daughter of Lautoka City Council market master Gorden Wong.

Katriena's passion for Wushu grew after watching martial arts movies.

She participated in the foreigners division at the festival. Katriena won gold in the fanziquan form; gold in the chain whip form and silver in the staff, beginner form.

"I practised karate in Fiji for more than four years," she said.

"After coming to China I wanted to keep learning martial arts so I joined my university's Wushu team. It has been eight months since I took up the sport.

"To win medal at an international festival is a big achievement. I want to thank Sensei Pala and Sempai Henry Shackley for guiding me over the years."

Katriena hopes to pursue a masters degree specialising in international law but will continue to train martial arts with an aim for bigger achievements in the future.

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