Gold rush for Taekwondo guns at ITF National Championships

GOLDEN GIRL: Sarah Fitzgerald-Holmes was among the Wagga gold medal winners at the International Taekwondo Federation National Championships in Sydney at the weekend. Picture: Les Smith
GOLDEN GIRL: Sarah Fitzgerald-Holmes was among the Wagga gold medal winners at the International Taekwondo Federation National Championships in Sydney at the weekend. Picture: Les Smith

Wagga’s Taekwondo specialists have continued to excel on the grandest of stages, with seven locals claiming a total of 12 medals at the International Taekwondo Federation National Championships in Sydney at the weekend.

Preston Oakman staked his claim as a potential Australian junior with two gold medals in the junior division (13 to 17 years), prevailing in sparring and patterns.

Simon Fletcher performed extremely well in the senior division, claiming two gold medals of his own, also in sparring and patterns.

Sarah Fitzgerald-Holmes made herself at home in her senior division, taking out the sparring and team sparring.

Fitzgerald-Holmes said she was thrilled with both her individual showing and the performances of the entire Wagga contingent.

“I haven’t competed at a tournament for 12 months, so with that in mind I’m very happy,” she said.

The local competitor said she spent a year away from competing because she needed a break after 20 years in the sport.

But having earned another taste of success, she wants more.

“It was great and after the weekend, it has really given me a good kick to get back into it,” she said.

On the same weekend, Fitzgerald-Holmes was named on the national team’s coaching staff and will head to the junior and veteran World Championships in Belarus next year.

It marks her second year in the role.

“It’s exciting,” she said.

“We’re definitely getting better as a country.

“For some of our juniors, it could be their first time and they’ll be heading over for the experience more than anything else, with a medal being a bonus.

“But in the veterans, we always come away with medals.”

Fitzgerald-Holmes is also a former World Championships competitor, making her international debut aged 13.

Full ITF National Championships results

  • Preston Oakman (junior division) – two gold medals - sparring and patterns
  • Jacob Sandral (junior division) – two silver medals - patterns and sparring
  • Eamon Kura (junior division) –  two bronze medals - patterns and sparring
  • Simon Fletcher (veteran division) – two gold medals - patterns and sparring
  • Sarah Fitzgerald-Holmes (senior division) - two gold medals
  • Shane Jeffries (veteran division) – one bronze medal
  • Alexander Gaskin (junior division) – one bronze