Teenage taekwondo fighter Bailey Lewis (Victoria University) will be taking extra baggage back to Melbourne after winning the bronze medal in the <54kg division at the Taoyuan Arena at the 2017 Summer Universiade on Tuesday.
Lewis defeated the 10th ranked fighter in the world Gashim Magomedov of Azerbaijan 12-10 in the quarter-finals, before facing eventual gold medallist and 2017 world championship silver medallist Armin Hadipour Seighalai from Iran in the semi-finals but lost convincingly 21-1. Hadipour Seighalai defeated Seongjoo Heo from South Korea 13-10 in the final.
As a losing semi-finalist Lewis was awarded one of the two bronze medals on offer to secure Australia's sixth medal in taekwondo at the Summer Universiade, and the first since Kavita Kumar (-47kg) in 2003.
The 19-year-old who is currently completing his Bachelor of Sport Science/Psychological Studies degree said his performance was as good as he has ever produced.
“It’s a really big win and probably my equal best performance to date,” Lewis said.
“I was really hoping I could bring home another medal for the Aussies after seeing the rest of the team kick us off yesterday.”
“My coach (Frank De Pasquale) from City West Taekwondo was watching at home on the live stream, and they’re stoked for me.”
Last year Lewis won the fancied Pan AM Presidents Cup in Oregon, USA, and also had lost to Hadipour Seighalai previously.
The Victorian, who was ranked 19th in the world, can now expect his ranking to rise as high as No. 10 in the world.
“You really need to verse these good guys to get experience and learn from the best to work on things to improve,” Lewis said.
Satisfied with the result, Lewis admits the performance has motivated him even further.
“Of course I’m happy, but it’s also made hungry for better results next time I step out.”
The other Aussies who took to competition on the first day of the kyorugi sparring included Australian Catholic University’s Tom Afonczenko who lost to Kazahkstani Nursultan Mamayev 6-16 in the round of 32 in the -68kg division, and Catherine Risbey (Australian National University) who fell to Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Chuang Chen 5-3 in the round of 32 women’s -57kg division.