A busy September came to an end for Ireland &South Dublin Taekwondo’s Jack Woolley with his final outing at the Russian Open World Taekwondo Federation [Olympic Style] ranking tournament in the Dinamo Krylaskoye Arena in Moscow. Before the event the team pairing of Jack & SDTKD Coach Niamh Buffini were enthused by the number 1 seeding position attained by Jack for the event due to previous results this year. This seeding led to Jack having a bye in the preliminary round of the event, giving him the opportunity to keep a close eye on his possible opponents as they fought early in the morning. Jack was paired against a US Open Medallist, Russian Opponent in the 2nd round match where he had a blistering start, defeating his opponent by a staggering 55 points to 7. With 3 points for head kicks and spinning body kicks, and 4 for spinning head kicks Jack registered points effectively on the electric scoring body protectors & head protectors with a barrage of varying high point techniques, leading the referee to stop the event after the end of the 2nd round applying the ’12 point gap rule’ where a match is ended from the end of the 2nd round if a points gap of 12 is reached or exceeded. Jacks next match was once again against a Russian, and once again only 2 of 3 rounds were fought where Jack won 32-0. The semi-final was then set up for a match against one of the seeded Kazak players in the division. At the end of round 1 Jack was behind by 2 points to nil, however a stern talking to by his Coach Buffini riled him up for a bout of his relentless kicking, Jack regained the lead and ended the batch by TKO when a strong jabbing kick led to his opponent having to retire with a broken elbow. Knowing a medal was now secure was not enough, a possibility of Jacks first senior gold was now a close reality if he could manage to see off the Russian National Team opponent who had clinically progressed through the opposite side of the draw to the final. After a 3 round high scoring match that ended 19-12 in the favour of Woolley, a first senior gold was secured and a valuable 10 Olympic Ranking points to add to his collection. Emotions were riding high due to the success and were enhanced when Jack was then awarded ‘Male Most Aggressive Fighter’ award and a prize of $3000 for his high octane, high scoring performances. This event was the final one of a momentous month for Jack who reached the podium on 2 other occasions throughout Europe, winning bronze in the Polish Open, and Silver in the Israel Open.
Jacks Coach Robert Taaffe noted, ‘We are doing all we can to give young Jack the best chance possible for upcoming major games, and the support from his club mates, our venue Tallaght Leisure Centre and the Irish Taekwondo Union has been invaluable. To compete at this level in WTF Taekwondo is extremely difficult, and the hard work is now reaping the rewards deserved’.
After the event there was an outpouring of congratulations on social media from supporters where
Jack responded, ‘ Thank you everyone it’s is a massive honour to even compete at this level but to take a gold medal and $3000 for the most aggressive player is unbelievable! I was speechless for a good half hour I was very emotional and it was honestly an incredible experience I have good a great team and honestly the best coaches anyone could ask for! But now that this competition is done I have to train harder and go for gold once again thanks you everyone for all the support.’ Jack will return to Dublin airport just in time for Monday night training at where he assists the coaching of grass roots children before kitting up for his own in preparation for the Serbia Open in a fortnight.