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Seven martial artists from Hong's Olympic Taekwondo Academy in New Milford recently excelled in national competition.

The local residents earned medals at the 10th annual American Taekwondo Championship at Queen's College in New York.

Kayla Williams, 15, Andrew Manaog, 14, and Isu Hong, 10, captured medals in youth competition.

Taking their bows for standout performances in adult competition were Azarel Gomez, 36, Minju Jung, 36, and Kim Erickson, 35.

They all competed in form, breaking and sparring at the blue- and red-belt level and combined to bring home 18 medals.

"This was my first time competing," Gomez said, "and it was a great experience."

His wasn't the only positive response to the national competition.

"This was the first time I won a medal," Jung said. "I'm very proud."

All the participants train at Hong's Olympic Taekwondo Academy at 89 Danbury Road (Route 7 South) in New Milford.

Their instructor is Master Seong-ho Hong, a sixth-degree black belt with a bachelor's degree in Taekwondo from Kyung Hee University in South Korea.

For more information about the academy, call 860-799-7824 or visit or