Tiarnagh Sweeney sets tone for powerhouse taekwondo family with bronze at international championships

TIARNAGH Sweeney took the road less travelled to become Australia's first medallist at the World Cadet Taekwondo Championships in Tashkent earlier this month.

CHAMPION: Tiarnagh Sweeney proudly parading her bronze medal.

CHAMPION: Tiarnagh Sweeney proudly parading her bronze medal.

The 13-year-old started her career in Wexford, Ireland before travelling with her mum Sadhbh Sweeney and two brothers to Brisbane in 2011.

The family, who has taekwondo running through their veins, now resides in Mount Cotton.

Tiarnagh trains four times a week at One Taekwondo under revered instructor Yong H Hur, who has operated Dojangs around Australia since the the 1980s.

Ms Sweeney said Tiarnagh had studied poomsae, a technical form of taekwondo, since taking up the sport as a three-year-old and had only transitioned into sparring 12 months ago.

Her bronze medal at the World Cadet Championships was the first of her international career.

"She was thrilled," Ms Sweeney said. "It was a surreal moment for her."

"...It was her first international tournament and she's only recently got into sparring.

"She's got nationals coming up in four weeks and we'll get her travelling abroad to give her more international experience over the next few months.

"We'll look to take her to the Paris open and the Israel open in November because we need to get her used to these big events."

Tiarnagh's 16-year-old brother Liam also represents Australia and has several international and national medals to his name.

"He's a five time national champion, has won two international medals and has been invited to a specialist categorised training camp that is only open to senior athletes," Ms Sweeney said.

The family's long list of taekwondo achievements doesn't end there.

Ms Sweeney coached the Australian team that toured Uzbekistan for the World Cadet Championships.

Her father was also a high-profile fighter in Ireland.

Ms Sweeney said it was a pleasure to coach her children but was cautious not to blur the line between her professional role and her parenting duties.

"It's incredible to come from Ireland and get to represent Australia," she said.

"When we're outside of taekwondo I'm their mum and number one supporter, that's all."

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