Jack Woolley of Taekwondoireland and Team Ireland returned to Innsbruck, Austria for the World Ranking Austrian Open. The event which is set in the picturesque city of Innsbruck which hosted the 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics, as well as the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics had other Olympic interest last weekend as Taekwondo took over the town.
It proved a successful exercise for Jack Woolley who secured his first Gold Medal at -58kg weigh since moving up late last year. More importantly 10 World & Olympic ranking points were added to his collection. Starting as the number 2 seed in the event, Jack had a bye in round 1 and then went on to face 2017 European Bronze medallist Hüseyin Canan of Germany in the Round of 16 and saw him off 25-5. The quarter final was to be against German opposition once again where a 21-0 victory was secured over another 2017 European Bronze medallist Spirdon Nitsas. Now with a medal secured Jack was to face Egyptian Mohammed Farag who is the reining African Championships silver medallist and former Worlds bronze medallist. A 17-4 victory secured Jack a final berth against Damina Villa of USA [formerly of Mexico].
Villa who would be regarded as a superstar of the game with World, Pan-American and Grand Prix medals to his portfolio took an early lead and was holding the game 6-3 when the match was stopped due to an accidental injury to Jack’s eye. After medical attention, the match resumed and Jack managed to close out the fight 8-8 after the regulation 3 rounds. One final Golden Point round was added which ended with no score, but as Jack had 8 contacts to the protector of Villa against his 2, the match was awarded to Woolley who took home his first senior -58kg gold medal.
Jack was joined by his Coach Dylan Leonard for the event who also took charge of coaching other SDTKD up & coming fighters; Ryan Doyle & Adam Nugent both unfortunately lost their opening bouts, both meeting medallists in their first round. Ryan is making good in-roads to -45kg Cadet since crossing over from other martial arts, and Adam who is still a junior took team orders to move up to -54kg senior for the experience in advance of turning session in 2019. One final guest addition to the Team was USA Olympic Hopeful Ara White, who came to Dublin to train with Jack’s South Dublin Taekwondo Club in advance of a series of events in the coming weeks. Ara secured a Bronze medal in a very competitive -62kg female division. In the coming weeks Jack & USA friend Ara will now travel to the Rome Grand Prix this coming weekend, the World Taekwondo Europe Multi Games Championships in Plodiv, Bulgaria the week after, and wrap up with the Luxembourg Open the week after. Ryan Doyle will re-join the team in Luxembourg and Adam Nugent also travels to Bulgaria & Luxembourg.
Video of the Golden Round:
PHOTO CREDIT: Pascal Fransen Photography