The Port's most successful senior tae kwon do exponent Ronald Bergan has just returned with two gold medals from the national titles held in Queensland.
A master instructor at the Him Do Tae Kwon Do Academy in Salamander Bay, the 56-year-old competed in one of the largest martial arts competitions against some of the best in the business from all over the country.
Over three days on the Gold Coast, Bergan followed a fourth placing in his first event with gold medals in both the patterns and power breaking categories.
In addition to competing, he also judged and refereed at the tournament and backed up on the fourth day to act as tae kwon do judge at the national university games also staged in Queensland.
"Winning gold at the nationals was a great relief after many months of heavy training. I feel that I am at the peak of my sporting career," Bergan said.
"I have also recently returned from the world titles held in Seoul Korea where I finished in fourth place. I am hoping my form has been good enough to win selection for the 2020 world titles."
Bergan said he would be participating in a newly approved national pilot program by the Australian Tae Kwon Do association for Years 3 to 6 students to be introduced into schools in 2020.
"This is a program I will be introducing in the Port Stephens area starting next year. The Australian Government Sporting Institution is supporting the program in the hope of providing young students with vital skills and possibly finding our next Olympic competitors."
Called Kickstarters, the modified martial arts program teaches girls and boys the fundamental skills and values of the sport in a fun and safe environment.
It is delivered at schools over six sessions and is designed to run by accredited coaches, where no special equipment is needed. "Students expand their physical literacy and are active throughout the sessions. Tae kwon do promotes social and emotional benefits including self-esteem, focus and discipline."
The program includes messaging that supports anti-bullying and wellness.