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Martial artist Alasan Ann preps for Paris Olympics, opens new taekwondo studio in Andover

Minnesotan Alasan Ann to represent Gambia in 2024 Olympics
Minnesotan Alasan Ann to represent Gambia in 2024 Olympics 01:40

ANDOVER, Minn. — Alasan Ann just opened his own Taekwondo school, accounting for just one-half of the busy time in his life. The remainder is occupied by preparing to compete in martial arts during the summer Olympic games.

World Taekwondo Academy opened in Andover in February, merely one week after Ann qualified to represent Gambia in the games. The African nation is both his father's homeland, as well as where Ann lived as a young child.

At the qualifying tournament in Senegal, Ann had to fight through an injured hamstring to earn his spot.

"I was ecstatic. I was so happy," said Ann. "I was also in pain. So I was like, 'Oh wait,' but then I was happy again."

Ann, 23, is a Maple Grove high school grad who learned under Grandmaster Lee. He has been traveling for competitions for years.  

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"I wasn't in high school as much," remembered Ann. "But I'm not gonna lie, I kinda liked it that way because I got to travel the world and see all these new places and taste a lot of really good food."

Ann is looking forward to the food in Paris, the location of the 2024 Olympics.

"The energy is gonna be so high," said Ann. "You're gonna see all these people that have been working so hard. It's gonna be inspiring."

In the meantime, he's not forgetting about the importance of launching his own school either.

"Learning about the business and also trying to be an athlete," said Ann. "Just a whole lot of new things happening at once. You kinda just have to take it and run with it."

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