NB athletes prepare for international karate championships

Hilary Pound, left, competes in the Karate Canada Senior National Team Trials in Alberta in February 2022. (image submitted)

Hilary Pond is about to test her 20 years of karate training on the international stage.

Pond, 25, is participating Senior Pan American Karate Championships In Curacao this week.

The Quispamsis native is one of two people representing Canada in the women’s hand-68kg category.

“Every training session, I really just have fun in it and have fun with it, while doing my best and always giving it my all,” Pound said in a pre-event phone interview.

Pond is no stranger to karate, having been training since she was five years old. Her father, who had practiced karate in his youth, got her involved.

“I basically just got into it because he was a role model. That was our family business and we could go to the dojo together to train. I just loved it, so I stuck with it,” Pound said.

Twenty years later, Pond has made numerous appearances on the national and international karate stage.

In February, she won gold at the Karate Canada Senior National Team Trials, securing her place at the Senior Pan American Karate Championships. It was the first game against Pond since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago.

“I came in just to just enjoy it purely and really remember why I started the sport in the first place and didn’t focus too much on the results, just because it’s so unpredictable how it will play out in two years,” said Pond.

“I think because I have a clear mind, I actually do my best. Gold is kind of like the cherry on top.”

Pound has competed in the Pan Am Juniors several times before, but this is only the second time she has competed in the Seniors.

She entered the event just to do her best and maintain the momentum she left after the national team tryouts.

“As I got into the older athlete range, I knew I didn’t have unlimited years, so I really just immersed myself in every moment and gave my all for what I did,” Pound said.

“Results are less important to me now, but because of that, I think I’ll do everything with a clearer mind.”

Pond will compete against 19 other athletes from 13 countries, including fellow Canadian Melissa Bratic.

The Senior Pan American Karate Championships are held from Thursday to Saturday.

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