Forget sibling rivalry, brothers Bernado and Luisito Pie from the Dominican Republic are committed to helping each other excel on the mat. At 22 years old, Bernado is the younger brother of Luisito and is both a passionate and successful fighter. Advancing to the Semi-Finals at this year’s Summer Universiade, the 22-year-old has been fighting for a decade. His success can be partly attributed to his training partner, and brother, Luisito Pié. Luisito was a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and while his early exit in the first round at this year’s Summer Universiade is surprising, it has given Bernado a chance to shine.
When asked whether Luisito’s experience helps him to improve as an athlete, Bernado said yes. The pair, who train together, push one another to practice with intensity and provide support outside of their demanding schedules. Bernado is inspired by his brother, saying that he learns a lot from him.
“He is smart. He is passionate” says Bernado.
As a fight sport, Taekwondo is unforgiving to those reluctant to work hard. Jose De Los Santos Ramirez, the manager for the Dominican Republic, shed an insight in to the training schedules of the talented two, from Monday to Friday Bernado and Luisito train two times every day for two hours with the coach’s guidance” As for the weekends, the athletes are expected to train by themselves to ensure that they maintain a mental connection with the sport. There’s no space for complacency in Taekwondo, as Jose explains “it is very dangerous If you do not practice, because if you don’t, the other fighter will show everyone your lack of preperation”.
Originating in Korea, Taekwondo is a physically and mentally challenging discipline because the fighter must work to both attack and interpret every second of the three two-minute rounds. Bernado said that the competition at this year’s Summer Universiade is “intense and high-quality”.
Laura Quilter, (NZL) FISU Young Reporter Programme