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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 21 April 2021
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Christmas comes early as Jack Woolley qualifies for 2020 Olympics in taekwondo

Dubliner makes history as the first Irish taekwondo athlete to qualify for the Olympics.

Woolley:
Woolley: "Blood, sweat, tears, highs, lows and many sacrifices have lead to this moment."
Image: Jack Woolley/Instagram

DUBLIN’S JACK WOOLLEY will become Ireland’s first-ever Olympic representative in taekwondo after booking his ticket to Tokyo 2020.

The 21-year-old had to wait anxiously for the results from this week’s World Taekwondo Grand Slam in China before his qualification was officially confirmed.

But his nearest rival, Yushuai Liang, failed to make the flyweight final, sending Woolley to Japan next summer.

“Today I have made history in becoming the first ever Irish Taekwondo Athlete to qualify for an Olympic Games!” Woolley said in a post on Instagram.

“Blood, sweat, tears, highs, lows and many sacrifices have lead to this moment and I am extremely grateful and proud.”

Woolley agonisingly missed out on a place at the Rio Olympics four years ago but immediately set his sights on Tokyo.

His brilliant form in 2019, capped by a silver medal at the European Championships in Bari in November, saw him climb as high as seventh in the world rankings in the 58kg division.

Woolley, who competed no fewer than 16 times in 10 different countries this season, paid tribute to his coach in South Dublin Taekwondo, Robert Taaffe. 

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“[He] has not only travelled the world with me to get those ranking points but has made extreme sacrifices in his day to day life in order to get us both on that plane to Tokyo!

“As every player and coach in sport does, we have had really good times and some not so good ones, but we pushed through, worked as a team and have turned our Olympic dream into a reality!”

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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