Jack strikes gold at PanAm in Las Vegas

JACK Woolley, from Tallaght’s South Dublin Taekwondo achieved perhaps his most important medal in recent times, as he pushed through an international competition in Las Vegas last weekend.

At the end of the day the 21-year-old received gold and went out as a winner.

Jack Woolley171019

Jack Woolley secured an important win in Las Vegas.

Travelling without the possibility of personal Olympic points, Jack was able to achieve his maximum Olympic ranking points for 2020.

For him the tournament was a strategic attempt to obtain a needed distance from his nearest competitors in Olympic ranking, as most of Jack’s opponents live on the American continents.

Skipping his first round, Jack started the event against Ross Moore (USA). Finishing his opening fight 24-7, the Tallaght native qualified himself for the quarter final, where he faced London Olympian Heiner Oviedo from Coast Rica. Thanks to his rock-solid defence and his aggressive offence, Jack’s win was inevitable, finishing early by 40 points to nil.

Entering the semi-final after last rounds demonstration he had to compete against Colombia’s Jefferson Ochoa, who is known for his staunchly different way to perform.

Because of this Jack had to forfeit his tempo of fighting. Besides some minor adaptions, the martial artist took the win (18-12) and reached the final, fronting the Mexican Brandon Plaza, himself the PanAm favourite. Jack’s last opponent is the current world silver medallist and known for his unrelenting style and fitness.

Knowing this, Jack was able to avoid his best attacks and benefited by his massive momentum after round one.

After the final showdown, the event with 1.400 black belts from around the world came to an end. Jack won his last fight 48-29 and proudly presented his gold medal on the podium.

Next weekend, Jack will continue in Sofia, Bulgaria for the third in the series of World Taekwondo Gran Prix to move forward for his automatic Olympic qualification on January 1, 2020.

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