Holy Family School pupil Leah Moorby won bronze at the Junior World Taekwondo Championships in Taiwan – despite being one of the youngest competitors in the event.
Leah – believed to be the first person from Keighley to achieve the podium accolade – followed up her third place in last year’s Cadet European Championships in Bucharest by matching it on the biggest stage of all.
And the achievement was all the more remarkable as Leah, aged 14, was the youngest member of the Great Britain squad and one of the youngest of 774 entrants from over 160 countries who took part in the World Taekwondo Federation tournament in Tapei.
After two weeks’ preparation with the GB team in the South Korean capital Seoul, Leah reached the semi-final of the minus 52kg category with three victories over opponents from India, Canada and Spain.
She narrowly missed out on a place in the final after losing 6-5 to German Rhonda Nat, who snatched the crucial winning point in the dying stages.
An intense battle saw the lead change hands, with the Keighley girl showing fantastic spirit to score two crucial points to bring the match level at 5-5 before Nat won it at the death.
Leah’s dad Gary – former head coach of Keighley Cougars – said: “It has been a fantastic experience for Leah.
“She exceeded all expectations and will have benefited a great deal from her performances.
“She has repaid the faith GB Taekwondo showed in her by her selection, despite her young years, and came within one point of appearing in the World Championship final.”
With the junior section in taekwondo going up to the age of 17, Leah has plenty more time to flourish at the standard.
Gary said: “She will still be eligible for the next World Championships in 2016, which follows the Junior European Championships next year, so she has a lot to aim for over the next two years.
“We would like to thank everyone including, coaches, school, family and friends for the brilliant support given to Leah. People have been fantastic and really got behind her to help her get to where she is at.”
Team Ultimate member Leah said: “It’s a shame its not gold but I’m happy.
“I had a long wait before my first fight and then they seemed to all come quickly after that.
“It was tough and a long day but a good one. Kathy Hook and the guys at Ultimate will be delighted. They’ve given me great support.”
Leah’s bronze was part of a successful campaign by the GB squad, who were crowned the third best girls team in the world and finished top in the actual medal table.
Liverpool’s Abigail Stones and Lauren Williams, from Newport, both won gold medals, while Plymouth’s Katie Bradley claimed a bronze.
Leah’s results: 1st Rd – bye; 2nd Rd v Joysree Basumatary (Ind), won 15-1; 3rd Rd v Andrea Jerom (Can), won 8-7; Quarter-final v Lidia Fernandez Ruiz (Spa), won 12-6; Semi-final v Rhonda Nat (Ger), lost 5-6.