Teen sets sights on an Olympics berth

Pilbara News - - Sport - Court­ney Fowler

Kar­ratha stu­dent Tahlia Briggs, 17, has re­turned from Jakarta with some ex­tra bling to add to her tro­phy cab­i­net, af­ter her bronze medal-ef­fort at the G1 Taek­wondo In­done­sian Open.

The event was the Aus­tralian ju­nior cham­pion’s sec­ond ma­jor se­nior tour­na­ment, af­ter her quar­ter­fi­nal ef­fort in June at the Aus­tralian Open, where she was de­feated by the No.1 seed from China, 14-2.

Her podium fin­ish at the In­done­sian Open will see her edge to­wards a top 100 world rank­ing.

Tahlia said she was work­ing hard to­wards her dream of com­pet­ing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which would re­quire a top 32 world rank­ing.

“I’m chas­ing girls who have 10 years of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der their belts and are fully funded na­tional team com­peti­tors,” she said.

“It’s hard for fringe ath­letes to crack into the rank­ings, but I got a lot of great feed­back from in­ter­na­tional coaches in In­done­sia.

“They were all shocked when I said I am only 17 years old and train in my backyard in Kar­ratha.

“I be­lieve it’s not about tal­ent — 90 per cent of what I achieve is from hard work and at the end of the day when you’re not train­ing some­one is work­ing twice as hard to take your place.”

Tahlia said she was now on a break for a few weeks to fo­cus on her stud­ies at St Luke’s Col­lege be­fore start­ing train­ing for the AIS Ocea­nia Club Cham­pi­onships and Thai­land Open in Novem­ber.

“It’s al­ways a bit of a jug­gling act be­tween school and taek­wondo; I spend two hours a day train­ing and study when I am on the road com­pet­ing at com­pe­ti­tions,” she said.

“I am top of the class in four of my sub­jects. I am so lucky to have re­ally ac­com­mo­dat­ing teach­ers at school who have helped me along the way.

“From here, I will put all my hard work into train­ing for the Ocea­nia se­lec­tions, where I will be fight­ing for a wild­card en­try to the Olympics in Rio next year.”

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