Bailey Lewis is racking up the frequent flyer points in search of the grandest taekwondo mat of all.
The target for the City West Taekwondo star is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but Lewis does not just want to make the Olympics, he wants to get on the podium.
The 20-year-old from Werribee is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to achieve his dream.
“Every day it’s two hours of training in the morning, two hours at night,” Lewis said.
“That’s Monday to Friday and then two hours on a Saturday. It is a fair bit of training, but when you love the sport, you make it work.
“I’m enjoying the journey, but I really want to win a medal at the world championships and the Olympics.”
It is only June, but Lewis already has passport stamps in Holland, Bulgaria, United States and Italy this year alone in search of strong competitions.
The Dutch Open was the highlight of Lewis’s career to date. He claimed a gold medal in the men’s 54-kilogram event in Eindhoven in March.
“That’s a really hard open competition to win and I came through after a couple of really hard fights,” he said.
In Rome, Lewis came close to upsetting the world champion. He lost by just three points in controversial circumstances.
“There was a couple of issues with the shield where he was getting points by not even kicking, the points would just come up,” Lewis said. “We had to change the shields and they only took a few of the points off, so it might have been even closer if we hadn’t had any technical difficulties.
“It was a good fight, you learn a lot against opponents like that.”
In 2017, Lewis travelled to England, Taipei, New Zealand, Belgium and Holland for competitions.
The travel is a welcome distraction from his work at Subway and psychology and exercise science studies at Victoria University.
“I can’t complain, it’s a good lifestyle,” he said. “I get to travel a lot and I’m getting to do something I love.”
Lewis got his start in taekwondo under head instructor Frank De Pasquale at the Hoppers Crossing-based City West. De Pasquale has been by his side ever since and played an important role mentoring Lewis.
“He’s had the biggest impact on me because he’s been my coach from the start,” Lewis said.
“He wants the best for me and he’s taught me so much.”
Lewis also benefits from having Adrian Abela as one of his training partners at City West. Abela is a world class taekwondo player who also competes at the grand prix and grand slam events with Lewis.
Lewis is ranked 26th in the world in an Olympic class division and is hopeful of rising up the rankings in the lead-up to Tokyo.
His next trip will be to Taipei next month for a grand prix event, before returning to Australia to compete at the nationals.
Lewis is the June nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and/or national levels.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and Star Weekly,Lewis will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes to assist him in achieving his sports goals.