Medal gives athlete Rio chance
■ Karratha now has a top-100 worldranking martial arts athlete in its midst, and she is yet to turn 18.
Tahlia Briggs has broken into the top 100 of her division in the taekwondo world rankings after a bronze medal win at the Oceania Taekwondo Club Championships late last month.
She is now ranked about 91st in the world in her female heavyweight 73kg-plus category and her chances of gaining a place in the Australian Olympic team for Rio De Janeiro stand at 50-50.
It has been an extraordinarily fast rise up the rankings for the 17-yearold St Luke’s College Year 11 student, who only entered the senior competition a year ago and has until now trained in her backyard with father Kim acting as her manager at the recent competition.
The Oceania championships were a regional play-off for qualifying points for taekwondo athletes in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands.
Tahlia was the youngest athlete in her division and still managed to place third.
The achievement follows her bronze medal effort at last month’s G1 Taekwondo Indonesian Open.
Tahlia said she was pleased with the result and the progress she had made.
“It’s a step up from last time,” she said of the Oceania championships event. “It zoomed in on the things I was prepping wrong.
“More than anything it was probably a look to see how much time I needed before selections because those are the girls I’ll (compete with) for selection for the Australian team.”
Tahlia will soon travel to Perth to train for the upcoming qualifiers for the Australian team, to be held from December to February.
Her Rio chances depend on how she goes against an experienced rival, but she notes that even making the Australian B team would give her invaluable training to hone her skills.
Oceania Taekwondo Club Championships medallists Rebecca Washington, Tassya Stevens, Tahlia Briggs and Kate McAdam.