Uni Ha is an eighth-grader at I.S. 25 in Flushing who travels around the world living her dream, competing in taekwondo competitions.
Ha, 13, has many achievements in the martial arts discipline of taekwondo and is currently ranked a second dan black belt. Last summer she became the youngest athlete to make it onto the USA National Team in taekwondo.
“It is an honor to just place in the nationals,” Ha said. “To be on the National Team and to be the youngest member is an honor.”
After earning a position on the USA National Team, Ha entered the Costa Rica Open Championship, an international competition, in August. At the event, she came away with a gold medal.
In September, Ha flew to Mexico for a competition and brought home another medal. Then in November, she traveled to Canada for the Toronto Open where she represented the USA and won the bronze medal.
The largest international competition, the U.S. Open Championship, was held in January. Ha was at that event and medaled yet again. In February, Ha also medaled at the Canada Open. During the national qualifier on March 8, Ha took home the gold in her division and defeated a 17-year-old fighter to win the gold medal in that division as well. Ha returned from the Mexico Open in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on March 15 with another gold medal around her neck.
“The Mexico Open is a really great atmosphere and very professional,” Ha said. “It was my second time there and I’ve learned so much through it. After finishing with a silver my first time, I wanted to do better this time.”
“This one was really hard for me,” she said. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. It’s a great experience.”
Besides being an adept taekwondo athlete, Ha is a great student, earning a 95 percent average on her last report card. She has an acceptance letter from St. Francis Preparatory high school and is waiting to hear from Townsend Harris High School. She is also heavily involved in community service by teaching taekwondo in local public schools, churches and community centers.
Ha’s coach at Eagle’s Tae Kwon Do in Flushing, Andrew Park, said, “She has done a tremendous job. She works real hard and is a great kid.”