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Taekwondo Team chase Rio points

14 July 2015

PACIFIC GAMES: With Rio Olympic qualification points on the line, Australia’s Pacific Games Taekwondo Team has arrived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Thirteen Australian athletes will compete at the Games later this week, including London Olympians and husband and wife Safwan Khalil and Carmen Marton.

Forty world ranking points are up for grabs for the winners of each division, which will help decide the Taekwondo Grand Prix entrants and eventual Olympic spots. 

Marton said the event is an important part of her journey to earn a spot at her second Olympics.

“This is a very important tournament. For me personally I have a lot of goals I have set, working on my performance, particular skills within the fight and also it’s very important for us to win those world ranking points,” she said.

“We’re after the gold, the full 40 points that are up for offer.”

The 2013 World Champion is also joined by siblings Caroline and Jack.

“To have that support is amazing I’m very blessed to have them in my life, to share this experience, this sporting career… with my siblings and my partner.

“Whatever I can share, whatever advice I can give. I’d love them to achieve what they dream for.”

Older sister Caroline also has her eye on the 2016 Games.  

“I would love to compete for Australia at the Rio Olympics. Obviously anything can happen between now and then but if I do well in this competition it’ll put me in a good world ranking position which will allow me to then go into the Grand Prix which is the main sort of selection for the Olympics,” she said.

“I recently moved to Sydney to train with Carmen and the Olympic program under the coaching of Ali Khalil to get closer to that dream.”

Caroline said it’s truly a family affair.

“My Dad, being an Eastern European man, got all of us into the sport… and I ended up loving it. It’s been a blessing. I’ve been able to travel the world - especially with my younger brother seeing as he’s eight years younger. It’s been something I never foresaw in my life.”

Laughing off any suggestions of sibling rivalry, the 31-year-old said it’s handy to have a sister with Olympic experience. 

“My sister always tells me what to do, she’s like the boss and I guess being the World Champion in 2013 and going to the Olympics she has a lot of knowledge and experience so we take it on board because she’s usually right.”

Caroline said she’s excited to be at the multi-sport event.

“The Games seem really cultural. It’s really exciting. We could hear the music and the people dancing and singing and cheering for Australia. It seems like everyone is getting into the Pacific Islands spirit.”

Jack, 23, is keen to complete the Marton hat-trick and also land himself a Rio spot.

After competing at the University Games in Korea last week, he arrived in PNG on Tuesday after 28 hours of travelling.

“It’s been a long trip and we’re exhausted. But once we get into training again tomorrow it’ll be fine.

“There’s a lot of points up for grabs so it adds a little bit of pressure to take out your division.”

The female taekwondo competition will run on Thursday and the men’s competition on Friday.

Annie Kearney

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