Lia Cappello, a 14-year-old from Lugoff, won gold medals in both Kata (forms) and Kobudo bo staff (weapons) at the AAU Jr. Olympics in Greensboro, N.C., on July 27.
Lia has won numerous medals traveling the country to compete in state and regional competitions, qualifying her for Nationals and Junior Olympics. She is a four-time national champion and her wins last month make her a four-time Jr. Olympic Champion.
Earlier in July, Lia traveled to Schaumburg, Ill., to compete in the USA-NKF Karate Nationals. She won a silver medal, placing her second in the nation. She is working towards competing internationally and trying out for the U.S. Team in Las Vegas in 2020.
Lia has experienced coaches and trainers that have helped her work towards her karate goals. She trains several hours per week with Sensei Moraima LLanes at Midlands Shotokan Karate in the Team 1 Martial Arts Fitness center on Clemson Rd. in Columbia. On Saturdays, she travels to Shotokan Karate Centers in Lexington to train with conditioning/fitness coach, Sensei Drew Taylor.
She earned her black belt earlier this year with Sensei Juan Manuel Rodriguez, 6th degree black belt and U.S. Olympic Coach from Bushido Shotokan Karate USA in Raleigh. Sensei Juan directs all of her training. Lia is a home school student who is entering the ninth grade. She has a goal of becoming a physical therapist. She is active with the Girl Scouts, Troop 968 in Lugoff, under the guidance of Bonita Furlow and loves spending her free time fishing and hiking.