South Dublin pair scoop silver in Poland

DAVID Phelan and Emma Cahill starred for South Dublin Taekwondo at the 2019 Polish Open/Warsaw Cup in the Torwar Arena, Warsaw as both emerged with silver medals.

Fielding a team of seven athletes in the competition, the club saw Phelan line out in the -63kg Junior class in which he found himself in a heavily populated draw with a total of five matches required to secure gold.

SDTKD David Phelan and Emma Cahill compressor

South Dublin Taekwondo’s David Phelan and Emma Cahill with their silver medals

He kicked off his campaign with a 17-10 victory over Greece’s 2018 European Champion, Theofanis Nikolau of Greece after which the 16-year-old Dubliner carded a 21-7 triumph over Enzo Comprelle from France in the Last 16.

Facing off against Matthew Howell in the quarter finals, Phelan avenged his loss to the British fighter last year, taking an eight-point victory in what was one of the ties of the tournament.

With three down and two to go, in a very physical division, Phelan and his Coach Robert Taaffe reviewed their progress, with one eye on the Junior Europeans in two weeks time. And, after a semi final victory over Ilya Chakasau of Belarus, it was decided to call it a day and withdraw from the final to ensure his preparation for the Europeans would not be hampered.

Also reaching the second tier of the podium was Emma Cahill who ignited her campaign with a 23-5  triumph over Elina Khizbulina from Russia.

It led to a semi final match with Poland’s Anna Pawkiwska who was bolstered by strong home support.

But Cahill, backed by vocal support of her own, stormed to a 23-2 win setting her up for a clash against current European champion Nika Karabatic of Croatia.

After having studied her opponent with Coach Taaffe and adjusted her approach to this challenge accordingly, Cahill was just two points down after the opening round against the taller Croat who is renowned for her devastating attacks.

An unlucky attempt from Cahill struck the plastic face mask of her opponent before Karabatic managed to squeeze her back to the perimeter of the ring, increasing her lead.

With nothing left to lose, Cahill went for her opponent in the latter parts of the final, but the Croat showed why she is the best in Europe and won 19-0.

That silver medal win followed hot on the heels of Cahill’s fine display in the recent Scottish Open.

Lining out in the -41kg Cadet division the 12-year-old turned in strong performances in all three of her fights en route to the top of the podium.

She kicked off her campaign with a quarter final victory over home competitor Ava Bett followed by a 37-15 win over Anna McLellan from Great Britain in the semis.

In the final young Cahill, who was named The Echo Sports Star of the Month back in April, overcame the challenge of Teigan Smith also of Great Britain 19-5.

Outside of these medal-winning displays in Poland, one other highlight was the performance of ranking event debutant Shauna Farrell.

In her first Cadet -44kg level contest, she upset of local Natalia Maria Sozynska with a 39-19 preliminary win in the quarter finals before finishing fifth overall.

The Open also marked a return to the ring after a long term injury for Adam Nugent in the -63kg Senior division.

“I am very happy with the overall team effort” said SDTKD Coach Taaffe. “We know there are many areas to improve, and it gives us some focus for the remainder of the year and start to next year’s calendar” he added.

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