Brazil, named best taekwondo federation at PATU 2023 Gala Dinner. PATU

On 28th January the annual Pan American Taekwondo Union (PATU) 2023 Gala Dinner took place in Queretaro, Mexico. During the event, the athletes and the officials were honoured not only for their achievements in 2023, but also for their contribution to taekwondo over the years.

The Brazilian Taekwondo Federation has been named the best Pan American federation. It was no surprise, as the Brazilian athletes shone at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago. USA's Carl Alan Nickolas won a silver medal at the 2023 World Championships in Baku, and his award as Best Male Kyorugi Athlete was also predictable.

2022 World champion and 2023 Pan American Games gold medallist Daniela Paola Souza Naranjo from Mexico was recognised as the best female Kyorugi athlete. Aruba's Elliott Andre Loonstra and Brazil's Silvana Mayara Cardoso Fernandes received the awards for the best male and female Para-taekwondo athletes of the year.

Iridia Salazar Blanco from Mexico and American taekwondo legend Jimmy Young Kim, who passed away in June 2023, were included into the PATU Athletes Hall of Fame. Salazar was an Athens 2004 bronze medallist, three-time world silver medallist and two-time Pan American champion, while Kim won gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games, when taekwondo was included as a demonstration sport.

PATU President Juan Manuel Lopes (centre). PATU
PATU President Juan Manuel Lopes (centre). PATU

Venezuelan commentator and PATU staff member Andrés Alejandro Henríquez, who tragically died of a heart attack in November 2023 at the age of 35, was honoured posthumously for his work with the Pan American Taekwondo Union.

Special Recognition Awards:

-Best Pan-American Federation: Brazilian Taekwondo Federation.

-Best Kyorugui Female Athlete: Daniela Paola Souza Naranjo

-Best Male Athlete Kyorugi: Carl Alan Nickolas.

-Best Male Poomsae Athlete: William Arroyo Reyes.

-Best Female Poomsae Athlete: Alejandra Higueros Luna.

-Best Cadet-Youth Competitor: Guillermo Manuel Cortés.

-Best Male Para-Taekwondo Athlete: Elliott Andre Loonstra.

-Best Para-Taekwondo Female Athlete: Silvana Mayara Cardoso Fernandes.

-Best Male Coach: Clayton Dos Santos.

-Best Female Coach: Yvonne de la Cruz La Torre.

-Best Male Referee: Eric Wah.

-Best Female Referee: Araceli Ornelas Caballero.

-2023 Team-Kyorugi World Champion: Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation.

-Taekwondo Development: Peru Taekwondo Federation.

-Sport Excellence: Costa Rica Taekwondo Federation.

-Special Appreciation Award for Taekwondo: Maria del Rosario Espinoza. 

-Special Recognition to Multi-Medalists of Queretaro: Jannet Alegría Peña.

-"Maestro Horacio Padilla Marquez" Special Appreciation Award for Referee: Manuel Angel Echeverría Herrera.

-Santiago Pan American Games Recognition: Karen Mitre Saba.

-Posthumous recognition for his work in Pan American Taekwondo: Andrés Alejandro Henríquez.

Hall of Fame Entrants:

-Arlindo Gouveia: Special Appreciation Awards for Taekwondo Hall of Fame.

-Arlem Limas: Special Appreciation Awards for Taekwondo.

-Iridia Salazar Blanco: Athlete Category.

-Erika Davila Bello: Officer Category. 

-Jimmy Young Kim: Athlete Category.

-Sergio Chavez Moreno: Officer Category.

-Hung Ki Kim: Lifetime Contribution Award.

-Adalberto Escoto: Life career in the Hall of Fame. 

-Ro Dae Park: Hall of Fame Career.