Siegel soars to taekwondo gold

JUNIOR taekwondo gun Riley Siegel starred on the world stage recently, bringing home a gold and silver medal from the Daedo International Championships in Florida, USA.

Siegel, 13, went undefeated in the singles event to take home first place, before joining four of his teammates from the Melbourne Taekwondo Club to finish second in the team tournament.

“Yeah, I was pretty happy to do as well as I did,” Siegel told The AJN.

“I was always confident because I was winning state events and doing really well at nationals, and because I missed out in Malaysia a couple of years ago, I really wanted a medal.”

The young gun has picked up a staggering six state junior titles in his category and has featured at several national championships.

He is following in the footsteps of his older brother Aidan, 16, who is also a star of the sport.

Both ventured to the Malaysian Taekwondo Championships in 2011, with Aidan bringing home bronze and Riley just missing out.

But the elder brother is now devoting his time to his VCE studies while Riley hones his skills on the mat.

“Aidan’s a role model for me, so I started because he was doing it, and just picked it up from there when I was four years old,” Siegel said.

“I started with one of my best mates and we just kept going and now we both do fighting together.”

Though he’s only in year 8 at Caulfield Grammar, Siegel has his sights set on one day reaching the world championships or possibly an Olympic Games.

“That’s the dream,” Siegel said.

“I reckon it will be fun to try and qualify for something like the world championships and just see how it goes.”

ASHLEY SHENKER