Olympian Jack Woolley says he ‘got off light’ during Dublin city attack

Taekwondo fighter was assaulted while out in Dublin city centre over the weekend

Irish Olympian Jack Woolley, who competed in taekwondo, underwent surgery on his upper lip at St James’s Hospital. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Irish Olympian Jack Woolley, who competed in taekwondo, underwent surgery on his upper lip at St James’s Hospital. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Irish Olympian Jack Woolley has said he “got off light” following a physical assault in Dublin city centre in recent days, which required him to get reconstructive surgery on his lip.

Mr Woolley, who competed in taekwondo at the Tokyo Games, was in hospital for a number of days over the weekend, following the assault in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Mr Woolley, a 22-year-old from Tallaght, had been out in Dublin city centre socialising on Friday night. After the attack he underwent surgery on his upper lip in St James’s Hospital.

A picture he posted shortly after the assault shows the taekwondo fighter sitting on the ground, with injuries to his face and a large amount of blood on his shirt and clothes.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Woolley said he “got off light” compared to other people, and his injuries could have been a lot worse.

“I was out having a few drinks with friends I hadn’t seen since I’ve got back to Tokyo, and I was walking down the street in Dublin next to the Liffey,” he said.

The assault took place near Grattan Bridge, in Dublin city centre.

Mr Woolley said he was approached by an individual who “just turned and hit me,” before stating they had punched the “wrong person”, he said.

“A lot of people are asking questions, about why I didn’t defend myself, but it was literally just one punch,” he told RTÉ Radio.

“A ring connected with my front teeth and bust my front lip open and at the time, the best thing to do was just to go and get safe and go to a point somewhere that I could safely call an ambulance,” he said.

Mr Woolley said a number of other people were also assaulted at the same time.

“I feel very embarrassed over it, but it could have got a lot more worse if I had have retaliated, because there was many more people in worse states,” he said.

“I was the first one to be attacked and I was the last put in an ambulance, that’s how bad other people were injured … I’m just very grateful that it didn’t get any worse,” he said.

The injury required surgery to have his upper lip reconstructed, and he is currently recovering at home, and “taking each day as it comes,” he said.

A Garda spokesman said there have been no arrests in relation to the assault, but investigations are ongoing.

-Additional reporting PA