Jun 07, 2024

Sports have been the salvation for Yohandri Granado. His dedication and commitment have secured his place in Paris 2024, his first Olympic Games, where he will represent Venezuela in the -58kg category of taekwondo. The Venezuelan earned his spot in France at the Pre-Olympic Tournament held in the Dominican Republic.

Granado grew up in Petare, one of the largest and most popular neighborhoods in Caracas. At 24 years old, he is a multi-medalist in the Olympic cycle, South American runner-up in Cochabamba 2018 and Asunción 2022, bronze medalist at the Central American and Caribbean Games 2022, and Pan American Champion in Punta Cana 2022 and Rio de Janeiro 2024.

“With this sport, I experienced what love at first sight is. Without looking for it, I stumbled upon taekwondo. I know that God had it saved for me. Through it, I have been able to see each day differently and it has taught me to fight for what we want to be in life,” he explains.

Despite the difficulties and limitations inherent in his environment, he never abandoned his passion for this martial art. Training under adverse conditions and with limited resources, Granado has become an example of resilience and determination. Yohandri secured his spot in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after dominating Colombian opponent Jhon Garrido in two rounds at the Pre-Olympic Tournament held in the Dominican Republic.

“He was very well-prepared. I knew I could face him. He had already beaten me in a previous competition, but this time was entirely different. I knew he felt the pressure from having beaten me before, and that gave me an advantage. I talked with my coaches about strategies, and we all communicated well. We saw the same things, and we achieved it,” said the future Olympic debutant.

After securing his place at the Olympics, the Venezuelan reflected on all his experiences and efforts in a matter of seconds. “At that moment, my mind went blank, and I just thanked God and hugged my coach, knowing that we had done it. After leaving the area, I couldn’t feel my body and had a sensation of floating when I walked. I couldn’t believe it that day,” he said.

Granado also had his dark days. The obstacles and exhaustion made him doubt his dream. “I saw that I wasn’t achieving everything I set out to do, and my mind collapsed. I didn’t know how to find a way out. I took four weeks to think, and the desire returned. I understood that defeats are part of greatness, so I got up, worked harder, and we secured the Olympic spot,” he recalls.


For Yohandri, the ticket to Paris 2024 represents his effort and a great opportunity to demonstrate his character. Moreover, he wants to make history and contribute to future generations.

“Now comes one of the hardest parts, and we have to be much more prepared to face it with determination and enthusiasm.” Granado, who is currently training in Madrid, Spain, at the Club Hankuk, prepared for the Pre-Olympic event at the High-Performance Center in Puerto La Cruz, where Olympic medalists Arlindo Gouveia (Gold, Barcelona 92’), Adriana Carmona (Bronze, Barcelona 92’ and Greece 04’), and Dalia Contreras (Bronze, Beijing 08) were trained.

“I thank the Venezuelan Taekwondo Federation, Master Hung Ki Kim, my mother María Troconis, my coach Mario Leal and his team, my physical trainer Alejandro Hernando, and all the athletes who were there, contributing to making everything turn out for the best,” he expressed.

Yohandri’s Olympic qualification does not represent a personal achievement alone but a revival of the spirit and values of Venezuelan taekwondo, a discipline absent from Tokyo 2020. “It’s time to show our character and enjoy ourselves. It’s the Olympic Games; I have the opportunity to fulfill the dream, and we can’t wait any longer,” he adds.

The Grand Palais in Paris will host the best taekwondo athletes in the world from August 7 to 10 for the Olympic celebration. Venezuelan taekwondo returns to the Olympic Games after Edgar Contreras’ fifth place in Rio 2016 in the -68 kg category. Granado will be the first Venezuelan to represent his country in the -58 kg category.

Written by Yanny Figueroa.


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