Home favourites dent Harrogate pair’s Quest Taekwondo bid

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Harrogate’s rising Quest Taekwondo hopefuls Tom Henley and Skye Donoghue returned from the Croatian Open brimming with experience, according to coach Rick Simpson.

Henley reached the junior -78kg Llight Heavyweight semi-finals before losing to home favourite Luka Horvat, who competed at the Junior European Championships earlier this year.

The 16-year-old returned to the UK with his first medal at A-Class level.

Donoghue also exited her event to a home competitor in the Cadet -59kg Light Heavy group. She pushed her opponent Marica Aljinovic for three full rounds in the quarter-final before falling to defeat.

Simpson said both fighters will have learnt from the tournament experience.

“Tom’s story is incredible - six months ago he was a totally different person and athlete,” said Simpson.

“Now he’s won his first medal at A-Class level, what an incredible achievement in such a short space of time. There’s more to come yet.

“Skye was the underdog by far - she’s a lower grade, age and not as tall as her opponent.

“We decided to use fitness and strength as our game plan - and she almost pulled it off.

“She has come from a different martial arts background but progressed so fast that I couldn’t leave her out of the team for this event.

“She’s proven herself as a contender.”

Henley and Donoghue also competed at the Serbian Open two weeks ago but they went out in the last 16 and the quarter-finals respectively.

They will fight at the Yorkshire Open this weekend in Bradford.