“For Jack, he will be a year stronger”

SOUTH Dublin Taekwondo Head Coach, Robert Taaffe is confident the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to July of 2021 will work in favour of his young protégé, Jack Woolley.

The Tallaght man, who scooped ‘The Echo Sports Star of the Year’ Award last December, secured his berth in the Summer Games that same month.

Robert Taaffe Jack Woolley compressor

Jack Woolley and his coach Robert Taaffe

And Taaffe is sure he will only get better between now and the summer of next year, telling The Echo “For Jack, he will be a year stronger, a year more developed and I am sure it will be in his long term favour.

“Other athletes may have been looking to do things such as; retire, change up a weight, start families in the four-year period, finish their education, buy homes, and, for them, it may be a difficult time to realign their personal planning.

“In taekwondo, optimum fighting age is early to mid-twenties for the lighter weights, some may not sustain the change of year and there may be changes in athletes sent to represent their nations.

“All of these variables are important areas we now must prepare for. Of course there are athletes in some sports who may benefit- those who may not have been ready yet, who may peak just in time for 2021.

“There are also others who may be impacted, families and friends may have already booked flights to Tokyo, some have lost out on the change in date, and may not be able to attend the rescheduled event.

“There are coaches, who will have personal planning not too dissimilar to the athletes who are impacted. Many will be delighted to have a job guaranteed for another year, some, of course, will have another year of voluntary work to try to fund and resource.

“The change in date, whilst it may have been a hard pill to swallow, in my opinion, is a long term positive for Irish Taekwondo challengers at, not only Tokyo 2021, but with a shorter turnaround to Paris 2024, it may make qualification for the next Olympics a bit easier for next year’s younger Taekwondo Olympians.

“For us, we will reset our year based on a revised calendar when it becomes available to us. Our event selection for the remainder of the year will be strategic for 2024 qualification.

“Jack is training in isolation now, we anticipated lockdowns and we caused some upheaval a few weeks ago by moving his sparring partner into his family home weeks before the enforced isolation so he would have access to a sparring partner during this difficult time.

“We are sharing much of Jacks training live with his team so he is training with dozens of people live during the week, to mutually motivate one another to keep focused and come out the other side of this better prepared than our rivals” he said.

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