After a successful campaign at the Senior (able-bodied) World Kyorugi Taekwondo Championships, Australia’s Taekwondo athletes have continued to shine on the world stage.
Last week, it was our Para athletes’ turn to fly the flag for Australia at the 2023 Virtus Global Games in Vichy, France, which is the world’s largest elite sports event for athletes with an intellectual impairment.
Australia’s strong Para Poomsae team at the event included Jack Arrah (WA), Chaeyon Seo (QLD), Damon Vasterick (VIC), Karen Doyle (Coach WA) and Kyung Hyun Seo (Coach QLD).
Chaeyon Seo put in an incredible performance to win a silver medal in the Para Poomsae Senior Female P21 division.
Jack Arrah and Damon Vasterick also did Australia proud, reaching the Quarter Finals and narrowly missing out on a medal.
The next major event for Para Athletes is the World Para Taekwondo Championships in Veracruz, Mexico, between September 21-24. Soon after, they will contest the Australian Taekwondo National Championships in Perth, from October 13-15.
At the Luxembourg Open, NPC Taekwondo athlete, Liam Sweeney, built on an impressive run to the Round of 16 at the Senior World (able-bodied) Championships, with a silver medal in the men’s -80kg division.
Sweeney defeated European Championships and Multi European Games medallist, Lawrence Felicite in the first round, followed by Czech athlete Adam Jochman.
Sweeney then defeated German veteran Martin Stach in the Semi Final, before losing a tight final to Portugal’s Julio Ferreira.
Whilst Sweeney flew the flag in Luxembourg, his NPC teammates Bailey Lewis, Stacey Hymer, Leon Sejranovic, Rebecca Murray, Reba Stewart and Saffron Tambyrajah, all represented Australia at the prestigious Roma Grand Prix.
Bailey Lewis (-58kg) faced a string of world-class opponents, first defeating the recent World Championships bronze medallist from Turkey, Gorkem Polat, in the Round of 32. In the Round of 16, Lewis eliminated the World No. 6, Ireland’s Jack Woolley.
In the Quarter Finals, he faced his old nemesis from the World Championships, four-time Grand Prix medallist and Tokyo Olympics Quarter Finalist, Adrian Vicente Yunta (Spain). Vicente Yunta won a technical bout, eventually claiming gold at the event.
Australia’s reigning World Championships bronze medallist, Leon Sejranovic (-80kg), beat a fellow World Championships medallist, Italy’s Jon Cintado Arneche, in the Round of 32.
In the Round of 16, he lost a tight battle with the two-time World Championships gold medallist from Italy, Simone Alessio.
Rebecca Murray (-67kg) gained valuable experience and held her own in a Round of 32 clash with Belgium’s two-time World Championships gold medallist, Sarah Chaari, but was ultimately defeated. Reba Stewart (+73kg) also put in a solid performance in a Round of 32 defeat to France’s Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Champion, Althea Laurin.
Saffron Tambyrajah (-49kg) pushed Olympic and World Championships bronze medallist, Avishag Semberg (Israel) all the way in an entertaining fight, but was ultimately eliminated. Stacey Hymer (-57kg) also gave a strong account herself in a defeat to Germany’s two-time World Championships bronze medallist, Anna-Lena Froemming.