18/04/2024

The AOC has announced Australia's Olympic Taekwondo Team for Tokyo 2020. Image: olympics.com.au

The Australian Olympic Committee has announced a four-member taekwondo team to travel to Tokyo, with a familiar face and three debutants to represent Australia.

35-year-old Safwan Khalil leads the team as its most experienced member, going to his third Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Khalil will compete in the Mens’ 58kg event, in which he competed at London 2012 and Rio 2016, placing fourth and seventh respectively.

He received great praise from two-time Olympian and CEO of Australian Taekwondo Heather Garriock as the team was announced on Monday.

“To Safwan, you have represented our sport over the last decade with great distinction,” she said.

“To make an Olympics for a third consecutive time is an achievement that you and we as a sport are extremely proud of.”

Joining Khalil at Tokyo 2020 will be 28-year old Jack Marton, who will compete in the Mens’ 80kg event, while Stacey Hymer and Reba Stewart will feature in the Womens’ 57kg and +67kg events respectively.

Garriock also extended her congratulations to the three debutants, highlighting their commitment to their craft as indicators of their achievement.

“The pride you must feel is something you have earned through all those hours and years of hard work and sacrifice,” Garriock said.

“I trust you will share the honour with your loved ones who have equally made the same sacrifice.

“I wish our athletes the best of luck as they represent our wonderful sport and our wonderful country at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.”

At just 20 years of age and the youngest member of the team, Stewart expressed that her selection in the Olympic team was the culmination of her efforts throughout her career.

“If I was told six years ago, as a fresh black belt in taekwondo, I was going to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as a fighter, I couldn’t have even imagined it,” she said.

“This amazing opportunity has put into perspective the hard work and sacrifices that I have made towards achieving my goal, proving that anything is achievable when you set your mind to it and stay focused.

“I am so honoured to be representing my sport and our country in the green and gold.”

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Marton follows in the footsteps of his sisters Carmen, who represented Australia in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and Caroline, who also competed in 2016, as Olympic Taekwondo representatives.

“This has been a dream since I was a teenager and to finally get here feels surreal,” he said.

“For years, I have watched both of my sisters, Carmen and Caroline, participating at the Olympics in taekwondo and to now be part of that family legacy means the world to me.”

Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman also lauded the four athletes and their families for their commitment and persistence following their selections.

“It takes a village to raise an Olympian, and today is celebration not just for these four athletes but the families, coaches, friends and supporters who have been there every step of the way,” he said.

“These athletes have shown resilience and determination to ensure they will be at their best in Tokyo.”

Australian Taekwondo Team

NameEventOlympics
Stacey HymerWomens’ 57kgDebut
Reba StewartWomens’ +67kgDebut
Safwan KhalilMens’ 58kgLondon 2012, Rio 2016
Jack MartonMens’ 80kgDebut

The AOC also indicated that an appeal for a non-nominated athlete to compete in the 57kg division is being followed up.

The Taekwondo competition at Tokyo will run from July 24-27.

Read The Inner Sanctum‘s preview of the Taekwondo competition at Tokyo 2020 here.

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