After conquering all that has come before him within his own age group, Kieran Woolley is set for the ultimate test when he drops into the bowl for the first time at the Park Skateboard World Championships.
The top-ranked under 16 park skateboarder in Australia will contest the preliminary rounds of the competition in Nanjing, China, on Friday where he will face off against the best adult skateboarders in the world.
With so much talent on display, Woolley is simply hoping to learn from the experience and complete a number of tricks he has been perfecting in practice.
“I was super hyped when I got invited, I was not expecting it at all,” Woolley said. “I’ll be happy if I just land a good run. I’m up against professionals from all around the world that are competing at the top level, so the competition will be very high.
“I won’t feel too much pressure so I hope being relaxed will help me out. But at the same time, it’s the biggest competition I’ve ever been in, so I’ll have that pressure in the back of my head.”
The Corpus Christi student enters the competition in hot form after a successful stint in the USA. Woolley picked up a second, a third and a fourth at the HotWheels Junior Open before taking home a bronze medal at the World Cup of Skateboarding Amateur Pool Classic in Orange County.
The 14-year-old is among a small group of skaters that competes in the three major skateboard disciplines, park, street and vert. It’s the park event, however, that he rates as his preferred and it’s this event he will contest in Nanjing.
Woolley is hopeful the lessons he learns in China will hold him in good stead throughout the upcoming two years as he begins his quest for Olympic selection when skateboarding makes its debut in Tokyo.
With just 20 athletes being selected for each of the park and street events, competition for spots will be fierce. The 18-month qualification period begins on January 1, with consistency across a range of competitions key to securing a plane ticket to Tokyo.
“The goal is to make the Olympic team. I’d love the opportunity to compete with other Australian athletes in Tokyo.
“I need to keep my results coming in, continue skating good, keep working on my park skating and learning new tricks. Consistency is really important, I need to keep learning new tricks and make everything bigger, higher and faster.”
While he recognises the world's elite skateboarders are currently a class above, he's confident that by the time Tokyo rolls around, should he qualify, he'll be able to match it with the best in the world.
“At the start it was daunting competing against elite skaters, but I’ve met some of them now and they’re nice to me. I’m super keen to hang out and skate with them, learn from them and hopefully they push me to try new tricks.
“It helps a lot knowing I am capable of competing at that top level and getting up there with all the pros.”