Guelph kickboxer earns a spot on Team Canada for Pan Am Games

Guelph kickboxer Nathan Skoufis has qualified for Team Canada.

He’ll travel to Mexico later this year as a member of the national team to compete at the Pan Am Games in Mexico.

He said he had to choose between the Pan Am Games and the world championships in Italy in October.

“We decided on the Pan Am instead of the world championships in Italy, kind of seeing what fit the most with our schedule and what would work around our tournaments and our studio,” he said.

“So we’re excited to be going to Mexico but the one in Italy, unfortunately, because of the quarantine and how close it is, we won’t be able to go to that one with Team Canada this year but hopefully in two years from now.”

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In addition to training, Skoufis is also an owner and instructor at Guelph Family Martial Arts.

He said the selection process for the national team did not change for either competition.

Skoufis said the preparation gave him a valuable experience.

“I’ve been involved in martial arts competitively for over 20 years now since I was a kid. We’ve really been travelling everywhere and we were never really able to have a break,” he said.

“So I was never able to take time off with whatever it was and I think this really showed me having a little bit time away kind of puts everything into perspective. I’ve always loved it but it’s really a renewed passion because it’s something I wasn’t able to do for a long, long time.”

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He says it’ll be his first time competing in this tournament and he has one goal in mind.

“My expectations for this — any tournament, of course — my goal is always is to win,” he said.

“To represent Canada, to represent the community. Hopefully, it’s a story for anyone that whatever your goal is, you could live in Guelph, you could live in any small city that’s out there. And that goal is achievable if you focus and work hard at it.”

Skoufis says he’s looking to fight at 74 kilograms and there may be more than one Canadian in the same weight class.

The Pan Am Games will go from Nov. 10 to 14.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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