Ragheb keen to improve

Taye Ragheb in action at the 2022 Australian National Championships in Queensland. (Australian Taekwondo)

Peter Howe

Taye Ragheb has a lot to be excited about over the next couple of months.

The rising taekwondo star will watch on with anticipation as two of his coaches Leon Sejranovic and Stacey Hymer along with Bailey Lewis will represent Australia at the Olympics.

“I am absolutely over the moon with excitement, my adrenaline is pumping,” he said. “I train with these people every week, they are so amazing.

“They are my sporting heroes.”

The teenager is hoping that will be him one day,

Ragheb started taekwondo when he was just six. His mum wanted him to do a sport. He tried soccer, footy and even gymnastics but it was only when he tried martial arts that he became an instant fan.

“As a six-year-old I loved the challenge of getting better and being able to show my strength,” he said.

“I was very competitive and loved being able to improve. When I started winning medals in competitions I liked it even more.”

Ragheb, like all youngsters, was initiated into taekwondo and had to learn Poomsae first. Poomsae is the non-combative arm of taekwondo where you learn the movements that you take into the combat arm.

He was eager to put the pads on and fight someone.

Ragheb was seven when won a silver medal at his first fight at the Victorian state competition. From there he went on to win his first Victorian state title and has medalled at every competition in Australia since.

He is currently the 2023 senior under-68 kilogram bronze medallist, having won the 2022 under-73 kilogram gold medal.

Ragheb attends the Maribyrnong Sports Academy coached by Sejranovic where he spends six hours a week training.

He then heads to the Victorian Institute of Sport three times per week for his performance pathway training and then his club training at Notorious Taekwondo a further three nights per week.

“Notorious is my second home and my coaches and fellow athletes are my family,” he said.

“I spend up to 15 hours a week training and honing my skills. Taekwondo has taught me the values of respect, discipline, gratefulness and humility.”

Combine his rigorous training schedule with year 12 study, there’s a high commitment and and discipline required to sustain high levels of performance.

“I have Sunday off where I catch up on my study and my rest, otherwise it is just go, go go,” he said.

“But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Ragheb has travelled to two overseas competitions. The first he took plenty of lessons out of it, fighting some experienced fighters, the second he won his first international fight.

Ragheb said he is unsure what he wants to do at the end of year 12 in terms of a career, but one thing is clear.

“I do know it will need to fit in with my goal of representing Australia at the next Olympics in the USA in 2028 and then Brisbane in 2032,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the national championships later this year. Many overseas competitors travel to the tournament, and I get another opportunity to improve my skills and hopefully medal.

Ragheb is this month’s Don Deeble sports award nominee.

The award is sponsored by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, Strathmore Community Bank, the Deer Park Club, Ascot Vale Sports and Trophies and Star Weekly.

If you would like to nominate a monthly winner or attend a dinner, contact swrsportsclub@gmail.com or  0408 556 631.