Members strikegold in Pacific

December 15, 2016

Aussie delight: Koryo Shepparton Taekwondo quartet Alyssa Quigg, Sammy Rachele, Josie Logan and Olympia Lada show off the spoils of their Oceania Championships haul in Fiji. Picture supplied.

Fiji is renowned for its mineral deposits, so it was only fitting members of Koryo Taekwondo Shepparton struck gold at the recent Oceania Championships.

Olympia Lada, Alyssa Quigg, Josie Logan and instructor Sammy Rachele made the trek to the idyllic Pacific nation for the two-day championships in Suva.

Despite being the youngest member of the local contingent, Lada, 12, is a red belt and nearing her grading for the coveted black belt.

Lada won gold in the fighting division and took home silver in the Poomsae, a technical combination of basic actions and movements exercised with an imaginary opponent.

‘‘I have been doing Taekwondo for five years — four years in Australia and one year in Greece,’’ Lada said.

Quigg, 16, first took up the sport at the age of five and brought home three medals, highlighted by two golds in the Poomsae and fighting divisions in the yellow belt category and silver when stepping up to the red belt division.

‘‘It was a great thrill to compete for Australia and I was proud to win three medals,’’ Quigg said.

Logan, a blue belt, sealed gold in the Poomsae in the over-30 age group, little more than three years after her first-ever class.

‘‘The championships were a fantastic experience to be a part of and winning a gold medal was special,’’ Logan said.

Logan mixes her Taekwondo commitments with her work as Goulburn Murray’s netball administration assistant, a role that encompasses the Goulburn Valley, Kyabram District and Seymour District junior competitions.

Rachele’s hopes of competing were scuppered when a suitable opponent in his class could not be found, resulting in walk-over victories.

A fifth dan, Rachele said the championships proved a wonderful experience for all.

‘‘To represent your country is a massive honour and to do it as kids is very special,’’ he said.

‘‘Australia had the biggest team at the tournament, 60 black belts and 70 in total, while there was also a number of French and competitors from the host nation.’’

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