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Burnaby's Josipa Kafadar fights her way to 2024 Summer Olympics

The taekwondoin toppled the number-one seed in her weight class at Pan American Qualification to punch her ticket to Paris.
Burnaby taekwondoin Josipa Kafadar will represent Canada at Paris 2024 for her first-ever Summer Olympics.

Josipa Kafadar took down the best athlete in her division to reach her first-ever Olympic Games.

The Burnaby taekwondoin fought her way through, what were described as, three "gruelling" matches on Tuesday, April 9, to earn one of Canada's three possible spots at Paris 2024.

The 23-year-old defeated Andrea Ramirez Vargas of Colombia in the semifinal match, 2-1, of the -49 kg competition to officially claim her quota from Pan American Qualification.

She also defeated athletes from Cuba and Puerto Rico at the tournament in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

"I’m super thankful just to be here in the first place," said Kafadar in a Taekwondo Canada statement.

"With such an intense match in the semifinals it could have gone either way. I’m super proud of the efforts I have made to get here and I’m thankful for my coach, my training partner and everyone who has helped me along the way."

Kafadar, a 2019 grad of Alpha Secondary and current biophysics student at SFU, currently ranks 40th among her weight class, according to the latest update from World Taekwondo (WT).

Her résumé includes a plethora of international medals, including four golds as a senior-level athlete — most recently at the 2023 Luxembourg and British Opens.

She's already reached the world's podium three times this year, winning bronze at the Canada Open, U.S. Open and WT President's Pan Am Cup. 

Kafadar is one of two female taekwondo athletes heading to France this summer. The games begin July 26 with the sport scheduled to take place Aug. 7 to 11.

She's the second known Burnaby athlete to qualify for Paris 2024, joining wrestler Justina Di Stasio who earned her ticket in early March.