LONDON 20120

Taekwondo fighter Sarah Stevenson comes out fighting

Sarah Stevenson knows 2011 will always be the year that changed her as both a person and an athlete, but it is 2012 which excites her.


Relaxing at GB Taekwondo’s training base opposite Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, it is clear Stevenson has not lost her focus despite the turmoil she has endured over the last 12 months.


Crowned world champion in October last year, having lost both her mother and father to cancer within the space of four months, her determination has to be admired as she prepares to compete at her fourth Olympic Games.


‘The key is I have something to train for. It would be hard for me to go out and do a nine-to-five job but with taekwondo I can get stuck into it,’ says the Doncaster fighter.


And get stuck into it she has. She has no choice. Big things are now expected of Britain’s most high-profile taekwondo athlete despite last week’s injury scare.


The 28-year-old had surgery last February month to repair cruciate ligament damage sustained training in Mexico but is confident she will be able to compete at the Olympics.


She has until the end of May to prove her fitness when the Great Britain selectors will nominate their four-strong squad for the Games.


Stevenson will miss the forthcoming Dutch and German Opens, and almost certainly the European Championships in Manchester in May, but is not about to panic.

‘I feel this is just a blip in my preparation for London 2012,’ she said after her operation.


‘I’ve been through worse and I can get through this. I’m strong mentally and physically and this is only going to make me more determined.’

Reflecting on how life has changed, she added: ‘Journalists aren’t asking me about last year as much, it’s all about 2012. I’m leaving that behind.


‘I’m a different person now, I have a different life. I don’t have a mum and dad, and it’s “how do you adapt?”.’


Stevenson is relishing the chance to immerse herself in her training as she bids to add Olympic gold to her world title at her fourth Games in London.


So far, her best result is a bronze from Beijing four years ago.


‘It’s about using what I’ve gone through to my advantage,’ she explains. ‘Trying to find some positives from what happened last year is not easy but you can do it.

‘The Olympics is not life and death; it’s a competition.

‘Sometimes bad things do happen and it does change who you are but I aim to live life to the full now and put the Olympics in perspective.

‘I’ll do my best [in London] but there is more to life, as I’ve learned.’

‘I use my experiences to my advantage’.









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