World Junior Championship bound

Alex Felea headed to Taiwan

Area resident Alex Felea will be a part of the world stage in March. A student at World Taekwondo Academy in Maple Grove, Alex made the U.S. National Junior Team and will be competing in Taiwan at the 10th World Junior Taekwondo Championships. This event takes place every two years.

Currently a junior at Wayzata High school, he has been training in taekwondo for just about eight years. “I have been sparring at a higher level ever since I moved to Minnesota three years ago,” Alex said. “Luckily I had found the World Taekwondo Academy and Grandmaster Lee. With his help, I was able to take the next step and go to the next level.”

Alex’s dad, Tudor, said, “It takes hard work and dedication to get here. At the very early of his journey, it was more about fun then sports probably. Day by day, little by little he acquired the skills needed to be a high performer.”

Tudor said Alex participated at the 2014 U.S. Open in Las Vegas in February.

Alex Felea, a student at the Maple Grove World Taekwondo Academy, will be competing in Taiwan at the 10th World Junior Taekwondo Championships March 26.
Alex Felea, a student at the Maple Grove World Taekwondo Academy, will be competing in Taiwan at the 10th World Junior Taekwondo Championships March 26.

Alex won his first important medal at the recent U.S. Open. “It was a huge stepping stone for me because I was able to win a silver medal, and get rid of the ‘pre-World’ jitters I was having,” Alex said. He added even though he had brought back a medal, there is always room for improvement.

Tudor said Alex beat athletes from Puerto Rico, Canada, USA, Colombia, Guatemala and falling short to Argentina in the finals. “Taekwondo is not like boxing or UFC, you have to use your mind and agility to win,” he added.

Making the U.S. National Team was anything but easy for Alex. Back in January he went to Colorado Spring, Colo. to try and make the team two times. The first team trial was for the Youth Olympic Team.

“My teammate Zachary Budde and I would end up meeting in the final,” Alex said. “He won and it was well deserved on his part. At the end of the day, he was the A-team member and I would be his replacement in case of injury.”

Alex said the next day he was back for another team trial, this one for the Junior World team, except with a different outcome.

“This time I finally made the A-team and Zach would be my replacement,” Alex said. “Needless to say I was so ecstatic about representing the country, but I didn’t let the moment get the best of me. There was and still is a lot of room for improvement.”

Alex said it was lucky that he and Zach had been working together, along with the rest of their team, to better ourselves for the upcoming events. For Alex, it was a confidence booster.

“I came to Minnesota as just another kid from Chicago,” Alex said. “Now almost three years later with the help of my coaches and teammates, I finally made the national team. Twenty people make up the National Team for the Junior World Championships, 10 males and 10 females. Each individual spars in their own respective weight division.”

Alex will be in World Junior Taekwondo Championship competitions March 26 in Taiwan. Grandmaster Lee said the World Championships will draw over 150 nations from around the world. Each nation will bring their top level athletes to compete in the hardest tournament in the world.

The top U.S. Athletes came to compete for a spot for the World Team.

Alex said he will be at everything cheering and supporting the other U.S. athletes competing. “We are one team representing the same country, and the support goes a long way for the athletes competing,” he said. “While I am in Taiwan, I will be focused on competing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my stay there and have fun. Not a lot of people get the chance to represent their country, and I wish to make the most of it.”

“At the end of the day it won’t be the color of the medal that matters to me,” Alex said. “As long as I know I fought my best and left it all on the mat, I will satisfied. It will truly be a humbling experience. This is another chapter in my book, and my family and I will be proud at how far we’ve come.”

The Felea family moved from Romania in 2001 with the hopes and aspirations to make their lives better and have more opportunities available to them. “Representing my adopted country is a blessing, and I will make the most of it,” Alex added.

Tudor said, “Things in life happen for a reason and this is the result of his hard working over the last three years. As parents, we are proud of his achievements and support him in building this journey. There are very few or no Romanians that made the U.S.A. Team. We look forward to the future and I will end in the Olympic Spirit: you win, you continue; you  lose, you continue.”

Grandmaster Lee said, “The last few years he really went through some tough times in training but persevered and didn’t give up. His attitude is what makes him so special because most kids in his shoes would have gave up. He worked really hard to get were he is at and I am so proud of him for what he has gone through and has achieved.”

Afterwards, Alex plans to continue working just as hard to try to make the national team again.

“At the end of the day, I am still a kid from Chicago that is chasing his dreams,” he said.