Woolley earns Spanish silver and world ranking points

By Stephen Leonard

JACK Woolley of South Dublin Taekwondo Club was back on the podium at last weekend’s Spanish Open in Benicassim, picking up silver and, more importantly, six additional World and Olympic ranking points to assist his seeding for next month’s European Championships.

After the disappointment of a joint ninth place finish in Germany the week before, Woolley was back in top form at the World Taekwondo Federation G1 ‘Grade 1’ ranking event last weekend.

Jack Woolley Spanish Open 

Seeded second in the division, he drew a local Spaniard Jose Ignacio Munoz Trejo and the 17-year-old brought the match to an early close on the 12 points-gap rule 14-0.

The quarter finals were likely to prove a much tougher test with Moroccan National Team player Amine Elharmazi standing in the way of a podium finish, but again Woolley finished 16-2 to win on the ‘points gap’.

This led to a semi-final against the African Games Champion Moaz Nabil of Egypt who the Tallaght lad had twice faced before, most recently in the final of the Moroccan Open where the match went all the way to the wire and Woolley clinched gold in the final second.

He went at it ferociously early on in the match, utilising lessons learned previously and his relentless kicking saw him through to the Spanish Open final for the second year running winning 18-7.

The decider was a mouth-watering affair in which he faced off against Cesar Rodriguez of Mexico, the current World Number Two who has already qualified for the Rio Olympics.

Woolley, nevertheless, took an early 4-1 lead, but was unfortunate to have three points deducted for an alleged infringement on one of his signature ‘scorpion kicks.’

Still he remained in touch throughout an excellently-fought match between both athletes, that resulted in an 8-4 win for the Mexican.

Woolley remained in Madrid for a few days at a training camp with his Finnish Taekwondo training partner Suvi Mikkonen who fought in London 2012 and has qualified for Rio.

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