Special needs Taekwondo world champion Tupuna Rangi is proving that having a disability is no obstacle to success. The 21-year old from Hawke's Bay has racked up an impressive amount of accolades to his name.
Tupuna Rangi is proving that having autism is no barrier to being a champion.
Tupuna Rangi World Taekwon-Do Gold Medallist says, “I've got about 8 gold medals at home, and two silvers now I got the one over there and one bronze.”
One of his medals is a gold from this year's Taekwondo World Championships. That's quite a journey from the quiet individual with no ability who started Taekwondo four years ago.
Ben Evans Instructor, Hawkes Bay ITF Taekwon-Do says, “Look at him now he's able to break roof tiles and he's achieved his black belt in consistent training and dedication. It's definitely a great thing for him.”
Rangi says, “Taught me how to focus a lot because before Taekwon-Do I wasn't focused enough but since I've been doing it I've been focused heaps.”
He's just one of many special needs competitors taking part in the NZ Special Needs Taekwondo Championships held in Hawke's Bay.
Evans says, “Today is a chance for them to show their skill and obviously recognition for their ability and how good they are and it's actually giving them an opportunity, so they're doing really well and I think it's a great chance for them to be included.”
Evans says the sport has been a way of instilling confidence and self-esteem for those with special needs.