Third time lucky? Safwan Khalil braces for third Olympic campaign

Ready: Safwan Khalil is the first Australian male Taekwondo athlete to compete at three Olympics. Pictures: Simon Bennett, Facebook
Ready: Safwan Khalil is the first Australian male Taekwondo athlete to compete at three Olympics. Pictures: Simon Bennett, Facebook

Safwan Khalil will create his own piece of history at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.

Khalil, who trains and coaches at Global Martial Arts in Prestons, will become the first Australian male taekwondo athlete to compete at three Olympics.

The Lurnea lad lost the bronze medal bout in his Olympic debut at London. Four years later in Rio, he finished seventh after losing in the quarter finals.

The 35-year-old will compete in the under-58kg category after an Olympic cycle he described as being "testing beyond all measures."

"After coming so close in London 2012 then Rio 2016, I found it hard to give myself to the sport while knowing there were other goals in life that stimulated me," he wrote on Facebook.

"After some very difficult conversations and some soul searching we knew what needed to be done. As my love for the game grew and my international performances started to rise, COVID-19 slapped us in the face.

"Fortunately for me I have an amazing team around me. We realigned our objectives and focused on what's in our control."

Khalil said he was '"truly humbled" to be selected to represent this "great nation". He secured his spot by winning his division at the Oceania Olympic Qualification Event in February 2020.

Australian Taekwondo chief executive Heather Garriock said: "To Safwan, you have represented our sport over the last decade with great distinction. To make an Olympics for a third consecutive time is an achievement that you and we as a sport are extremely proud of."

  • The Taekwondo competition will run from July 24 to 27 at the Makuhari Messe Hall.