A Black Diamond martial artist is set to live out a dream on the world stage.
Conrad Graup, a 2020 graduate of Oilfields High School, is off to Dubai, United Arab Emirates next week to compete in the 2021 World Karate Federation World Championships.
“It’s a pretty big dream come true for Conrad,” said Teresa Graup, Conrad’s mother. “We’ve had Dubai in the sights for a while but with COVID and everything and just how the world has been for the last bit everything is uncertain.
“It’s really exciting and for Conrad it’s really cool because it’s really made him understand the whole concept of goal-setting and working towards it and he’s actually going now and he’s worked hard to get there.”
The two-time Canadian junior and provincial champion trains at Dynamic Karate in Turner Valley and has been working with sensei Heather Fidyk for a number of years. Conrad, Teresa and Fidyk, who’s leading the Canadian para contingent, will all be making the trip overseas.
“He was totally excited,” said Teresa of Conrad’s reaction to the confirmation of the event. “He couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t believe it was actually going to go through. It was pretty overwhelming.”
Training has ramped up over the past couple months once the Graups got the go-ahead with the 19-year-old taking in martial arts work, strength and balance exercises along with cardio at home.
“He’s been doing private karate training, he’s been going into Calgary and he has some good individual work with another student and then coach has been specifically working him for (Dubai),” Teresa said. “But we train like we’re going all the time because, for him, I have to have that goal set for him and it’s good for him to know ‘this is on the horizon, you’ve got to keep training, you can’t stop.’
“He is a creature of habit and routine, he loves routine and all summer he’s been training at Focus FITness in Black Diamond and he does strength and balance work one-on-one with Trina (Hampton) down at the gym there. That’s been really cool and a routine he’s gotten into.”
Conrad, who has Down syndrome, will be competing in the intellectually impaired division, which is expected to include seven-to-nine athletes.
“He’s just coming into the senior division so he’ll probably be one of the youngest,” Teresa added. “Where he’s competing I think there’s somewhere between seven to nine, from all over, Germany, France, Italy.
“He’s going to have some good competition so the goal is to just go and experience it, to have fun and come back and set more goals and learn from it.”
The WKF World Karate Championships run Nov. 16-21 in Dubai. The event was originally slated for November of last year, but was postponed due to the ongoing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s event will be the 25th world championship to take place under the WKF umbrella and will feature 10 world championships, Olympic gold medallists and world record holders.
Conrad is also preparing to compete in two large scale events in 2022 with the PKF Pan American Championships in May and Karate Canada National Championships in July in picturesque St. Johns, Nfld. on the horizon.
The Graup family is seeking sponsorship opportunities for Conrad to help offset the cost of travel competitions.
“The community is super-supportive and we’ve been really pleased with the support so far,” Teresa said. “Honestly, without the support some of these big international (events) would be really hard and different karate organizations as well have been very supportive.”
For more information contact Teresa Graup at Teresa.firstname.lastname@example.org.