A talented Lebanese teenager is making a name for herself and her country internationally in Taekwondo, the popular Korean martial art of self-defense.

Fifteen-year old Laetitia Aoun has won a string of championships and currently ranks fourth place worldwide in the young female (52kg) category.

It takes a lot of agility and strength to master the fast, high and spinning kicks typically performed in Taekwondo. To make sure she can achieve her best, Aoun practices daily for two hours. “The only days I don’t practice are days of exams,” Aoun tells HOME. Her regular training takes place at the Mont La Salle Sports Center in Ain Saade, the pine-forested suburb northeast of Beirut. “I enjoy my Taekwondo training,“ she explains. “I feel stronger, more responsible and more confident in myself. I am always learning new techniques that help me in winning.”

It’s not surprising to know that Aoun’s mother once practiced Taekwondo as a teenager and encouraged her daughter to take it up. However, it was Judo that Aoun first began practicing only to shift to Taekwondo at the age of eight. Since then she has developed her skills quickly and now holds a black belt 3 Dan. Aoun even has seven medals under her belt: three silver were won between 2014 at the Turkish Open in Antalya (Turkey), 2015 at the Asian Cadet Championship in Taipei City (Taiwan) and this year in Turkish Open in Antalya. Three Gold ones were earned in 2015 in the Qatar Open in Doha and in the Croatia Open in Zagreb and this year in the Jordan Open in Amman. Finally a bronze medal was won at the World Junior Championship in Burnaby (Canada).

In person, Aoun’s pretty feminine look, characterized by large blue doe eyes and long blond curls, belies the sheer toughness and performance she exhibits when she is practicing Taekwondo. Like any teenager, she loves hanging out with her friends, watching movies and listening to music, but it is clear when speaking to her that Taekwondo is her priority before everything else. Her dedication has allowed her to climb up the ranks faster than any other teenager in Lebanon and out of nine international competitions she has won seven of them.

Aouns tells HOME that her dream like most athletes is to partake in the Olympics one day, while she also plans to attend university. She is a big fan of the 23-year old British double Olympic Champion Jade Jones. “I particularly like how she plays, especially the speed and the strength of her movements.” With talent and discipline, the sky is the limit and this youngster may be one to watch to hold Lebanon’s flag at the world’s biggest sporting event one day…

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