Sport

Duo’s state medal haul

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September 15, 2017

Sam McGhie (left) and Josh Kennedy (right) with their medals and trainer, Matt Fenech.

Two district boys have achieved success at this year’s Australian Taekwondo Victoria state selection championships.

Nine-year-old Josh Kennedy, from Hilldene, and 10-year-old Sam McGhie, from Tallarook, won gold, silver and bronze medals at the competition in Parkville on September 3.

Sam won silver in his weight class for sparring and achieved gold in poomsae (taegeuk), a combination of attacking and defensive motions performed within a certain time limit.

Josh won bronze for sparring in his weight class and silver in poomsae.

Due to their success, Josh and Sam will represent Victoria at the national championships in Bendigo next month.

The boys have been training in Koryo Taekwondo for just under three years under the watchful eye of Russell Wood at Roxburgh Park and Matt Fenech at Wallan.

In that time, Sam has achieved third stripe status on his blue belt, while Josh has reached the first stripe on his blue belt.

‘‘A lot of it is about patience and endurance. There’s a lot of fitness involved, but the main thing that they learn is focus,’’ Sam’s mother Karen McGhie said.

When they begin their training all children start out on a white belt before learning new skills and advancing to higher levels and techniques.

For each belt, students need to earn at least an 80 per cent grading in front of a Taekwondo master in order to advance to the next stripe on their belt.

All the children wear protective head gear and armour when sparring and only compete against other children in their same weight class for safety reasons.

‘‘Most of the kids didn’t realise how skilled or fit they had become, or how it had helped influence and shape themselves mentally, because it was a sport and fun,’’ Mrs McGhie said.

‘‘We did district athletics last week. Sam ran and won a gold and silver medal.

‘‘But it was because of that ongoing fitness, the focus and confidence which that brings, which you don’t even realise you’ve developed as a result of the sport.’’

The national championships will be held in Bendigo from October 6 to 8.

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