Eight Canadian taekwondo athletes will take the next step towards securing a spot to represent the country at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games after triumphing at the National Championships in Quebec City.
Among those earning the opportunity to go to the Lima 2019 qualifying event in the Dominican Republic's capital Santo Domingo in March were Ontario's Rachel Cuma in the women's over-67 kilograms category, Ashley Kraayeveld in the women's 67kg, Jordan Stewart in the men's over-80kg and Miguel Diaz in the men's 58kg.
They are joined by Quebec's Hervan Nkogho in the men's 68kg and Christopher IIiesco in the men's 80kg.
Toronto's Yvette Yong and Winnipeg's Skylar Park, who compete in the women's 49kg and 57kg divisions respectively, were pre-selected based on their international results and will round out the athletes who have qualified to advance to the next stage.
Quebec's Viviane Tranquille and Frederique Santerre also claimed national titles in the respective women's 49kg and women's 57kg classes.
With Yong and Park pre-selected for those, Tranquille and Santerre will be named as alternates on the Pan American Games team.
Cuma beat her friend Emmanuelle Boudreau in a spirited battle to secure her first national title in the women's over-67kg class.
"I'm excited I was able to perform the way I did today," she said.
"I stayed calm and collected throughout the fight.
"I was able to keep coming back today and kept reassuring myself I can do it.
"This was such a nice and positive experience for me.
"Being on top of the podium makes it that much better."
Thank You to the more than 60 volunteers that helped us put on a memorable and successful 2019 National Championships – we couldn’t have done it without every one of you! Bravo!— Taekwondo Canada (@tkd_canada) January 16, 2019
Kraayeveld and Yong will be aiming for a successful qualification tournament in order to make their second Pan American Games appearance.
The former captured the nation's attention by topping Rio 2016 Olympian Melissa Pagnotta in the women's 67kg division.
"I'm overjoyed - it's been about seven years for me to win against my toughest competitor Melissa," Kraayeveld said.
"I'm so honoured and grateful because I've been working so hard for this event.
"I'm thankful that all of the hard work and sacrifice that I have committed to this sport is paying off."
It has been quite a run over the last couple of months for Kraayeveld, who also won the gold medal at the World Military Taekwondo Championships in Rio de Janeiro in November.
"I competed at the 2015 Pan Ams in Toronto, and now I feel like I have a good chance of medalling in Lima," she added.
"I'm going to give it all I have to bring home a medal for Canada."
Lima 2019 will gather around 6,700 athletes.
They will participate in 39 sports and 62 disciplines.
Of those disciplines, 22 will offer qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
There will be a total of 17 days of competition, from July 26 to August 11, and ceremonies to be held in 14 districts of Lima and Callao in different venues.