A longtime local firefighter has returned from the 2022 World Police & Fire Games (WPFG) with a gold medal.
Teague Huyssen triumphed in taekwondo last week, solidifying his 27-year career as a competitor and trainer. The 42-year-old is one of four owners of Alliance Martial Arts in Orillia.
The Barrie native and Coldwater resident says taekwondo is one of many activities he was involved with as a youth.
“I had been a swimmer growing up and had always done sports,” Huyssen explained. “I had a friend in taekwondo, and it really interested me, so I switched to that.”
While Huyssen has tried other martial arts, he always found himself coming back to taekwondo.
“I really enjoy teaching the most,” he said. “I enjoy being able to pass on what I’ve learned to others.”
Recently, Huyssen, who has been a Barrie firefighter for 18 years, decided to take his knowledge and skills for the sport and put them to the test against thousands of full-time law enforcement officers, firefighters, customs, and/or corrections officers from 70 different countries.
This year’s WPFG was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, which made the event even more special for Huyssen.
“The experience was awesome,” he said. “Both my parents are Dutch immigrants of Canada which kind of motivated me to do this.”
Huyssen spent six months training heavily in Orillia and with friends who live in the Toronto area. His only expectation of himself going into the WPFG was to experience good competition.
“I wasn’t sure what the level of coemption was going to be,” he said. “I exceeded my own expectations by winning gold there," said Huyssen.
“To represent both the fire service and our taekwondo school on the world stage is an honour,” he said. “I definitely had a lot of support and pride from the fire service and the taekwondo community as well.”
Huyssen’s nine-year-old daughter Madeleine and wife of 17 years, Stephanie, were also excited about his achievement.
“My daughter was super excited,” he said. “I promised her that she could hang the medal in her room.”
Huyssen says he will compete in the WPFG again. Next year’s event will be in Winnipeg.