Gold Medal Karate Champion


Isabella Ghahtani, Staff Writer

Plainfield East holds the title of having a gold medal champion in the building.

Eliza Salvado of Team USA won a gold medal at the 2019 World Shotokan Karate Championships on Sept. 20 in Portugal.

This first-time experience at the World Shotokan Karate Championship was “a little intimidating, especially since my division was the first to compete,” Salvado said.

Karate was the “only sport I wanted to try when I was eight years old,” she said.

Her mother had tried putting her in dance and ice skating, but it was never “my thing,” Salvado said.

Her passion for karate sprouted during the beginning of competitions. With the inclusion of a clear goal to work toward, it was “really rewarding to see improvement from tournament to tournament,” she said.

Besides the skill improvements, Salvado said, the bond with the team and meeting competitors who share the same passion from other countries made her love for karate grow.

By believing that she could win and having trust in her training, the time and effort apparently paid off.

The U.S. team, with 33 athletes, placed second in overall medal standings taking home five gold, two silver, and four bronze medals, according to a press release.

Coaches and teammates “never doubted me, so I wanted to make them proud and represent the U.S. to the best of my ability,” Salvado said.

According to a press release, Eliza defeated 42 other competitors from 17 countries in the Cadet (16-17) Ladies Individual Kata division. The Russian Federation took second place while Serbia and Austria took third and fourth places respectively.

The win was a shock to Eliza. When it was time for the medal ceremony, “I felt nothing but pride because I was able to carry our flag to the top of the podium,” Salvado said,

While karate is primarily an individual sport, she relied on her team’s support during the competition.

All of her teammates are “super talented; they were my role models, my rivals, and gave me the motivation to keep working,” Salvado said.

Knowing that she has the capability of coming in first place, yet she has room to improve “makes me want to work harder for upcoming competitions to prove that my win wasn’t just a one-time thing,” Salvado said.

Currently she is an assistant instructor for karate students under the age of 12.

She said she hopes that in the future she can coach her students at a world tournament, so they can share the same experience that she had.