Taekwondo kid

From a solid “no”, to third place for the Female Juniors 68 Division, Sarah Grabot’s dreams continue to grow in Taekwondo

Yasmine Khoury, Reporter/Photographer/Designer

Starting in gymnastics at the age of four launched Sarah Grabot’s (11) athletic career. Grabot stuck to gymnastics for a few years despiste feeling pressured to join her family in Taekwondo. Still with her mother and two brothers in the DoJang, the training gym, constantly, she caved in and decided to join Taekwondo at ten years old.

“A week after joining, I quit gymnastics,” Grabot said. “I fell in love. I have now been in Taekwondo practice for over six years, and I couldn’t imagine anything else.”

Grabot began competing as a color belt.

“I started off at local tournaments maybe once a year,” Grabot said. “I then started to compete in slightly larger tournaments, such as the Wisconsin State Championships.”

At twelve years old, she earned her black belt.

“I competed in the Wisconsin Championships again, and qualified for the National Championships in Salt Lake City,” Grabot said. “The next winter I fought in the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, finishing with a bronze medal.”

She did not always place. In her National Championships in Minneapolis, she became the first female athlete from Wisconsin to be named an All-American Athlete.

Hitting a brick wall in her freshman year of high school, Grabot earned her first degree black belt and quit.

“Then came a gift,” Grabot said. “Covid. I became so utterly bored I decided to come back to Taekwondo.”

Due to Covid, tournaments were temporarilypaused. Therefore, Grabot set out to teach students ages four to twelve.

“Teaching those kids, although they don’t listen to me half of the time, was constantly being able to finally breathe.” Grabot said.

In spring 2021, Grabot participated in a Taekwondo AAU, although she was hesitant of her skills. A few months later, she fought at the Central Grand Prix in Texas.

“My first ever Junior tournament, and I took Gold.” Grabot said.

She qualified for the Junior Grand Slam again. Fighting her way to the finals, she took home a second place finish.

Grabot has quite a few milestones for the future, with winning a gold medal at the Olympic games set as her end goal.

“I have a regional camp in Houston and the Grand Prix Final in Florida, hopefully in January,” Grabot said. “My ultimate near-sighted goal is to qualify to fight at the 2022 Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.”

However, the tournament nerves get to Grabot every time.

“I cannot eat anything, and I mean anything,” Grabot said. “Well except for Sour Patch Kids. My good luck charms.”

Sour Patch Kids being Grabot’s number one calming factor, her “tourney-hype” playlist comes in second. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out, she gets in the zone.

“I put on my game face, stand up tall, and I go out on the ring to do what I do best.” Grabot said.