Woolley lands silver in the US

JUST A fortnight after winning gold in the Turkish Open, Ireland’s top Olympic Taekwondo competitor, Jack Woolley captured silver in the US equivalent.

Indeed the Tallaght man carded four impressive victories in the -58kg division and, with it, 12 important World and Olympic ranking points towards Tokyo 2020.

jack woolley us open 2019

Jack Wooley with his South Dublin Taekwondo Coach Robert Taaffe after his silver medal win in the US Open.

Competing in a tournament that saw more than 80 countries represented by some 2600 competitors, including many current and past Olympic medallists, the 20-year-old Tallaght fighter made it all the way to the decider where he was eventually undone by World Number 2, Jesus Tortosa whom he had beaten previously on his way to a Grand Prix medal back in 2018.

After receiving a bye in the Round of 64, he recorded a 21-17 win over Hao Chen Hsu of Chinese Taipei before storming to a 56-4 demolition of Austria’s Lachlan Malachowski in the Last 16.

A 24-4 point victory over Georgia’s Badri Paksashvili ensured him a place among the medals, but Woolley was not settling for just that and booked his place in the decider when he dished out a 30-12 point defeat to former World silver medallist Damien Villa of the USA.

Up against the tall Spaniard, Tortosa in the title match, Woolley lost out 18-10 but will be hoping for yet another great performance when he lines out in the Belgium Open from March 15-18 followed by the Sofia Open a week later.

All this will be leading towards the World Championships in Manchester in May.

Delighted with the performance of his protégé, South Dublin Taekwondo Head Coach Robert Taaffe told The Echo “That was Jack’s fourth time attending the US Open and his fifth medal in the event.

“He competed there as a junior in his first year back in 2015 and won silver and then shocked the field by winning a bronze in the senior ranks” he explained.

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