Ireland’s Jack Woolley wins silver medal in taekwondo at European Games

Kellie Harrington wins first match of European Games in Poland

Ireland’s Jack Woolley has won silver medal in taekwondo at the European Games.

Woolley was beaten in the -58 final by Spanish fighter Adrián Vicente Yunta. The Irishman won the first round 13-11 to give himself the perfect start, getting a number of clean hits. He then lost the second round 5-3 in a cagier affair before losing the final round 14-11 as the Spaniard asserted his dominance to win the gold medal, winning 2-1 in rounds.

The silver in the European Games for Woolley follows up his silver in last year’s European Taekwondo Championships in Manchester and sets himself up as one to watch in the Olympic Games in Paris next year.

“It feels amazing to come away with a medal. You wake up in the morning and you think, I want to be on that podium but you want to be in top spot,” Woolley said after the final.


“I don’t want to just have the flag behind me, I want to hear the national anthem and unfortunately I haven’t heard that yet at major championships. I’ve silver medals at Europeans over several years.

“Today was a step up on past performances in the last while, it was good to show a better representation of myself and for the Irish public and the people supporting me back home to show what Jack Woolley is really made of.”

Earlier the 24-year-old edged Britain’s Mohammed Nour 2-1 in the quarter-final, and then comfortably saw off Italy’s Matias Lomartire to book his place in the decider.

Woolley had described a draining semi-final match on the back of the intense quarter-finals.

“It was a draining match, especially after the match beforehand which was really intense, three rounds of madness. I felt a little zapped in the first round, these players can get a bit of a one up on you. But it was my gear three, and I was able to up the level.”

Meanwhile, Kellie Harrington opened the European Games in Poland with a victory over Slovakia’s Miroslava Jedinakova in the lightweight (60kg) division.

The Olympic gold medallist excelled in the final round in particular and registered a 4-1 victory. Harrington scored three 10:9 results from four of the five judges, with Canada’s Edward Blanchard awarding Jedinakova a 2-1 overall win.

Harrington is only two wins away from securing her place at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with the four semi-finalists in the division gaining qualification.

Dean Clancy eased past Austria’s Arsen Chabyan in the lightweight division (63.5kg), taking the overall decision 5:0 to progress. Commonwealth Games champion 57kg Jude Gallagher was on the wrong side of a split decision in his last 32 bout against Bulgaria’s Javier Ibanez Diaz.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times