In a never-say-never world, an 11-year old boy with autism has defied all odds to become a Tae Kwon Do world champion.
Diagnosed with autism at three years of age, Ethan Fineshriber finished in the number one podium in the X-Treme Forms/Black Belt category at the American Tae Kwon Do Association’s World Championship.
Ethan was introduced to martial arts by his mother, Mara Fineshriber, from an early age, where she had hoped a new hobby would encourage him to get some exercise and learn to interact with others.
“He resisted at first, but once there, found he liked it,” said Ms Fineshriber, in a blog post for Autism Speaks.
“Ethan has an immediate affinity for the sport and caused those around him to want to make friends.”
Ethan started out shaky, but swiftly got a handle on the sport. “For the first day it was just learning those new moves and it started getting me interested, like I can learn this stuff, and I can memorize this stuff and then I can do more of it,” said Ethan in an interview with Salt Lake City’s Fox 13 news.
Ms Fineshriber, proud of how far her son has come, thinks Ethan may have a future career in martial arts.
“He’s learned a lot and loves to give back. He enjoys teaching martial arts and loves his many friends more than words can convey. I am one of the proudest mothers on the planet and I know what it has taken to reach this place and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him,” she finished.