Leon Sejranvoic has won Bronze for Australia after a brilliant run on Day 6 of the 2023 World Senior Kyorugi Taekwondo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The 20-year-old Victorian secured the medal with a victory over Jasurbek Jaysunov in the Quarter Finals of the -74kg division, breaking a 10-year medal drought for Senior able-bodied Australian athletes at the World Kyorugi Taekwondo Championships.
Sejranovic battled his way through a tough draw throughout the day, raising his level in each match and taking down some of the -74kg division's finest athletes.
He defeated Poland's Lukasz Cudnoch in a tight battle in the Round of 64, losing the first round 10-0, but coming on strong in Round Two (2-2) and Round Three (14-2) to advance.
Sejranovic then defeated Afghanistan’s Omid Sahak in a clinical display (R1: 11-7, R2: 6-3) to book a Round of 16 clash with the world number one and defending champion, Daniel Quesada Barrera.
The Aussie brought his A-Game against the Spaniard, edging him 7-6 in the first round. Quesada Barrera found an extra gear in the second round, winning it 7-0 to force a decider.
From there, Sejranovic shocked the world, going toe-to-toe with the bogeyman of the division, throwing beautiful strikes and anticipating his every move to take the round 11-9.
With his confidence sky high, Sejranvoic dispatched Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Jaysunov, a gold medallist at the Grand Slam, Asian Championships and Dutch Open.
The Aussie’s dynamic skills overwhelmed Jaysunov 11-7, 11-10, securing a bronze medal and a place in the Semi Finals.
Leon Sejranovic trading blows with Jasurbek Jaysunov. Photo: Combat Institute of Australia.
The Aussie's fantastic tournament came to an end there, after he was defeated by the eventual gold medallist, Marko Golubic, but he has certainly done his country proud.
Sejranovic’s historic run has given Australia its first able-bodied medal at the event since Carmen Marton famously won gold in Puebla, Mexico in 2013. He is also the first male able-bodied Australian Taekwondo athlete to medal there since Daniel Jukic in 2005 (Madrid).
Leon Sejranovic, Australia's bronze medallist in the men's -74kg division. Photo: Combat Institute of Australia.
Sejranovic arrived in Baku with high hopes having reached the Round of 16 at last year’s World Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. He also ended the 2022 season strongly, winning gold at both the Oceania Championships and Tahiti Open.
The young Aussie developed as a junior athlete at Notorious Martial Arts, before joining the Combat Institute of Australia’s National Performance Centre program for Taekwondo.
Led by Taekwondo NPC Head Coach, Seokhun Lee, and National Taekwondo Program Coach, Ryan Carneli, the NPC ran a rigorous training camp to prepare their athletes, including Sejranovic, to take on the world’s best.
The camp included seven National Team members and a further 21 athletes from around Australia, who sacrificed their time and money to assist as training partners to give the Aussies the best possible preparation for the event.
Leon Sejranovic at the World Championships medal ceremony with NPC Head Coach, Seokhun Lee, and National Taekwondo Program Coach, Ryan Carneli. Photo: Combat Institute of Australia.
This huge effort by Australia’s entire Taekwondo community has paid dividends with Sejranovic’s performance and further excellent showings by the Aussies in Baku, with six athletes reaching the Round of 16 or further.
The Aussies will have another chance to add to their medal haul tomorrow, when Molly Park and Adam Meyers take to the mats for Day 7 of the Championships.
For a more detailed account of Sejranovic’s matches today, check out Australian Taekwondo’s daily World Championships blog.
You can read more about the NPC's training camp ahead of the World Championships here.