“Representing both the firefighters and our taekwondo school on the world stage is an honor,” says a local firefighter
A longtime local firefighter returned from the 2022 World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) with a gold medal.
Teague Huyssen triumphed in taekwondo last week, cementing his 27-year career as a competitor and coach. The 42-year-old is one of four owners of Alliance Martial Arts in Orillia.
The Barrie native and Coldwater resident says taekwondo is one of the many activities he took part in as a youngster.
“I had been a swimmer growing up and always played sports,” Huyssen explained. “I had a friend in taekwondo, and I was really interested in that, so I switched to that.”
Although Huyssen tried other martial arts, he always found himself returning to taekwondo.
“That’s really what I love teaching the most,” he said. “I like being able to pass on what I have learned to others.”
Recently, Huyssen, who was a firefighter in Barrie for 18 years, decided to put his knowledge and skills for the sport to the test against thousands of law enforcement officers, firefighters, customs officials and/ or full-time correctional officers from 70 different countries.
This year’s WPFG was held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which made the event even more special for Huyssen.
“The experience has been great,” he said. “Both of my parents are Dutch immigrants from Canada, which kind of motivated me to do this.”
Huyssen spent six months training intensively in Orillia and with friends who live in the Toronto area. His only expectation of entering the WPFG was to experience good competition.
“I wasn’t sure what level of coemption that was going to be,” he said. “I exceeded my own expectations winning gold there,” Huyssen said.
“Representing both the firefighters and our taekwondo school on the world stage is an honor,” he said. “I certainly had a lot of support and pride from the firefighters and the taekwondo community as well.”
Huyssen’s nine-year-old daughter, Madeleine, and his wife of 17 years, Stephanie, were also excited about his achievement.
“My daughter was super excited,” he said. “I promised her she could hang the medal in her room.”
Huyssen says he will compete in WPFG again. Next year’s event will be in Winnipeg.