A drought breaking performance from Leon Sejranovic has put him in the frame to represent Australia in Taekwondo at next year’s Olympics.
With one year to go, Sejranovic is doing everything he can to get enough ranking points to qualify.
He didn’t do his hopes any harm with his performance at the World Taekwondo Championships in Azerbaijan earlier this year.
Sejranovic won bronze in the lightweight -74 kilogram competition, becoming the first Australian male in nearly 25 years to medal at a world championships.
“It was pretty surreal, it was a good experience,” he said. “It was a nice feeling that all the hard work and the sacrifices over the years had paid off
“The aim was to win a medal, but I knew it was going to be a big ask. It’s been a long time since Australia medalled at a world championship.”
Sejranovic said he stuck to his processes on the day and managed to overcome a slow start to produce his best day of fighting in his career.
“I had a tough draw during the competition,” he said. “The round of 16, I had to fight the person that beat me at the last world championships, had won gold at the last championships and was the world number one.
“It was one of the best fights I’ve ever had. The quarter final was another tough fight. I wish I had won my semi final [which he lost to the eventual winner].
The 20-year-old said the last two years since stepping up into the senior age group he had been able to match it with top competitors.
He said the bronze medal was his breakthrough performance.
Sejranovic was quick to thank Maribyrnong Sports Academy and his team at Notorious Martial Arts for helping him get where he has.
For the former Maribyrnong Sports Academy student and now coach, Taekwondo has been something that he instantly feel in love with
“I started at three and half and I haven’t looked back,” he said.
“I was clumsy as a kid. I was with my dad and sister at a YMCA and he decided that I should try it out to be more coordinated and I’ve never stopped.”
Sejranovic will be back overseas in the coming weeks to compete in Korea and then another event in Paris.
He said he wanted to get enough ranking points to qualify for the Olympics, with the top 32 athletes getting through.
Sejranovic is currently ranked at 13.
“I think being in the top 10 would put me in a really good position for the Olympics,” he said.
“I’m in a good position after the world championships.”