RickyJon Balgenorth to compete for Junior National Karate team

Anchorage (KTUU) Anchorage local Rickyjon Balgenorth has made the junior national karate team. He'll be traveling to Ecuador later this month to compete in the Pan American games.

“It’s pretty crazy. Every single time I put on this uniform, I see the flag patch,” he says with a grin. “And I remember what I’ve gone through to do this.”

Balgenorth has been training at Okamoto's since he was 4. And even then, his instructors knew he had the talent to go far.

"He was very coordinated for his age," Yoshihiro Okamoto, head instructor at Okamoto's Karate, said with a grin.

For Rickyjon, this is a chance to put Alaska on the map for karate.

“Usually when I train, I always remember that I'm from Alaska and I remember that when I first started competing, no one really knew who I was,” he says quietly.

His teachers are not surprised he's achieved these goals so early.

“That attitude, that dedication, is why he's done so well,” Okamoto says.

The Pan American Junior games are August 26th through September 2nd.

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