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Juliana Candelaria: Igorot Taekwondo Prodigy is Best of the Best in the World

Juliana Candelaria, an Igorot Taekwondo prodigy, is considered "Best of the Best" in the World.

 |  5 min read

Igorot Taekwondo prodigy Juliana Candelaria is considered "Best of the Best" in the World; 4x Gold Medalist in the World Class Black Belt Division
Igorot Taekwondo prodigy Juliana Candelaria is considered "Best of the Best" in the World; 4x Gold Medalist in the World Class Black Belt Division

Igorot Taekwondo prodigy Juliana "Myka" Candelaria, a member of the TEAM USA, is considered the "Best of the Best" in the World after winning major Taekwondo competitions.

The 12-year-old Candelaria bagged countless awards in the United States Taekwondo Cadet World Class Competition and won a Gold medal in the 2020 US Open Individual and Team Cadet Poomsae.

Juliana Candelaria, an Igorot Taekwondo prodigy, is considered "Best of the Best" in the world.
Juliana Candelaria, an Igorot Taekwondo prodigy, is considered "Best of the Best" in the world.

In the same year, Juliana landed in the number one spot in the USA TAEKWONDO (USAT) Grandslam Finals in Individual and Team Cadet Poomsae and became the youngest athlete to be a member of the USAT National Team.

Juliana Candelaria, an Igorot Female Cadet Gold Medalist
Juliana Candelaria, an Igorot Female Cadet Gold Medalist

Candelaria also recently won Gold Medal in the Taekwondo Pan Am International Championship and a Silver medal in the World Taekwondo Championship.

Juliana Candelaria, won Gold Medal in the Taekwondo Pan Am International Championship
Juliana Candelaria, won Gold Medal in the Taekwondo Pan Am International Championship

Candelaria, who started her career in 2016, is training at the Apex Tigers Martial Arts in New Jersey, under the Guidance of Master Giduk Kwon, and also trains freestyle Taekwondo with Coach Jeordan Dominguez, another world-class Igorot Taekwondo practitioner from La Trinidad, Benguet.

Juliana Candelaria training with Apex Tigers Martial Arts under Master Giduk Kwon
Juliana Candelaria training with Apex Tigers Martial Arts under Master Giduk Kwon

Juliana's parents Dennis and Janie are from Baguio City. She is the great-granddaughter of former Baguio city mayor Jaime Bugnosen, born in Kayan in Tadian, Mountain Province to parents who were both public school teachers and resettled in Mankayan, Benguet.

The family is now based in Chicago.

UPDATE (April 15, 2021): The Gold medal was won for the second consecutive year by Candelaria at the 2021 Taekwondo US Open against at least 80 tough taekwondo athletes.

Juliana Candelaria, one of the outstanding athlete in Lents Taekwondo Worldwide with the Female Outstanding Performance Award
Juliana Candelaria, one of the outstanding athlete in Lents Taekwondo Worldwide with the Female Outstanding Performance Award

UPDATE (June 6, 2021): Juliana has been recently recognized as one of the outstanding Lents Taekwondo athletes Worldwide with the Female Outstanding Performance Award.

"Juliana Candelaria, 4x Gold Medalist in the World Class Black Belt Division, 653 athletes from around the world. Being recognized as one of the outstanding athlete in Lents Taekwondo Worldwide. Our greatest appreciation to Master Giduk Kwon for cultivating her to always perform her best in the competition, and to Ms. Gina Hwang who is always behind in Myka's success in this field, to her lola Grace Candelaria her Strongest supporter and prays and cheers for her in every competition. To my friends and family members who are very supportive of my daughter thank you so much, her success is for you. To Master Lisa Lents and Edina Lents, thank you for organizing such a great event," her parents wrote on Facebook.

Juliana Candelaria, 4x Gold Medalist in the World Class Black Belt Division, 653 athletes from around the world. Being recognized as one of the outstanding athletes in Lents Taekwondo Worldwide.
Juliana Candelaria, 4x Gold Medalist in the World Class Black Belt Division, 653 athletes from around the world. Being recognized as one of the outstanding athletes in Lents Taekwondo Worldwide.

Juliana Candelaria Taekwondo Career Highlights:

Year Competition Type Class Place
2021 Female Outstanding Performance Award, Lents Taekwondo Worldwide
2021 US Open Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Cadet Gold
2020 US Open Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Cadet Gold
2020 US Open Team Poomsae Black Belt - Cadet Gold
2020 Cadet Poomsae Grand Slam Individual Black Belt - Cadet 1st place
2020 Cadet Poomsae Grand Slam Team Black belt - Cadet 1st Place
2020 AAU Illinois State Championship Individual Poomsae Cadet - Black Belt Gold
2020 AAU Illinois State Championship Cadet Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019/2020 AAU Mini Cadet Sparring National Team Member
2019 USAT Nationals Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 USAT Nationals Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 kg (Fin) Bronze
2019 US Open Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Silver
2019 President's Cup Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 President's Cup Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) - Youth Bronze
2019 Pan American International Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Bronze
2019 Pan American International Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 Athletic Taekwondo Union Nationals Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Athletic Taekwondo Union Nationals Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 Midwest 10.0 Sparring Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 AAU New Jersey State Championship Individual Poomsae Youth - Black Belt Gold
2019 AAU New Jersey State Championship Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 Michigan State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Michigan State Championship Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 Illinois State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Illinois State Championship Youth Sparring Black belt - -30 (Fin) Gold
2019 Minnesota State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Minnesota State Championship Youth Sparring Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Wisconsin State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2019 Wisconsin State Championship Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30kg (Fin) Gold
2018 IL State Team Member (ITSO)
2018 USAT Nationals Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Silver
2018 President's Cup Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2018 President's Cup Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 kg (Fin) Gold
2018 Illinois State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2018 Illinois State Championship Youth Sparring black Belt - -30 kg (Fin) Gold
2018 Wisconsin State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Youth Gold
2018 Wisconsin State Championship Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30 kg (Fin) Gold
2018 Las Vegas Open Youth Sparring Black Belt - -30kg (Fin) Silver
2017 USAT Nationals Individual Poomsae Black Belt - 8-9 years old Silver
2017 USAT Nationals Tiger Sparring Black Belt - 21 to 25 kg Gold
2017 Illinois State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Tiger Gold
2017 Illinois State Championship Tiger Sparring Black Belt - 21 to 25 kg Gold
2016 USAT Nationals Individual Poomsae Blue Belt - Tiger Silver
2016 Illinois State Championship Individual Poomsae Black Belt - Tiger Gold
2016 Illinois State Championship Tiger Sparring black Belt - 21 to 25 kg Gold

"I never underestimate the value of training because I never underestimate the challenges that I will face" - Juliana Candelaria
"I never underestimate the value of training because I never underestimate the challenges that I will face" - Juliana Candelaria

"I never underestimate the value of training because I never underestimate the challenges that I will face" - Juliana Candelaria



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