GB TAEKWONDO2

Scottish Asia Bailey Dreams of Olympic Glory

After winning two international championships within just seven days, Asia Bailey has a fighting chance of making it into Great Britain’s taekwondo team for Rio 2016.


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Her double victory has echoes of another Scottish sports star, with her “remarkable” achievements in Hamburg and Eindhoven being likened to winning two tennis Grand Slams back to back – something even Dunblane-born Andy Murray has yet to achieve.

 

However, like him, 15-year-old Asia can rely on the expertise of her family, as both her parents have won caps for the Scottish and British taekwondo teams and her father David is one of her coaches.

 

He said: “It’s amazing how quickly Asia has developed into a real force on the international circuit – winning a senior A Class gold at 15 is unheard of.

“It’s exciting to think what she might achieve as she gains more experience and her skills continue to develop.”

 

Impressively, the teenager fits three hours of training in each day around her schoolwork and is performing well in the classroom, as well as in competitions.

She passed all eight of her Standard Grades at Credit level and is now studying for five Highers, with teachers predicting she will achieve A grades.

Despite only being four months into 2013, the Larbert High School pupil – who was nominated for BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year in December – is already enjoying an incredible year.

 

In February, she took part in her first senior competition, the Swedish Open Championships where she beat athletes from Ukraine, Sweden and Russia to reach the final.

Unfortunately, she narrowly missed out on victory against the current European Under 21 champion, but still took home a silver medal.

Asia’s success continued last month, when she exceeded all expectations by winning two A Class international gold medals only seven days apart.

 

Her first competition took her to the German Open in Hamburg, the biggest A Class event in Europe and also where the Team GB is chosen for the Junior European Championships.

She defeated five opponents in the Junior Female -44kg division. Just a few days later, the teenager travelled to Eindhoven for the Dutch Open, but only just managed to compete after her taxi did not turn up.

 

Undeterred, Asia ran to the sports centre, where she knocked out opponents from Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, France and Croatia to become the youngest British athlete ever to take senior A Class gold.

 

The modest youngster, a member of Falkirk’s Central Taekwondo Academy, said: “I was really happy to win the gold in Germany as it will help with my selection for this year’s Junior Europeans.

“I wasn’t expecting to do so well in Holland because I was competing with the seniors. My coaches said to just enjoy the tournament and get some good experience and it turned out to be my best event yet.”

 

She will continue her campaign for world domination in taekwondo this month, when she takes part in the Belgian Open and, hopefully, wins a spot in the European Under 21 championships in Moldova.

 

In May, Asia will compete in the Spanish Open, followed by the Austrian Open in June, before heading to Korea for intensive training.

Scotland’s performance coach, Nikos Jakubiak, described the youngster as “inspiring”.

“She has a high work ethic and a genuine passion for taekwondo,” he said.

“I have seen how quickly she has progressed in the sport over the past year and I can see the tremendous potential she has. Considering who her parents are, it must be in her DNA.”

 

 

 

Source: thecourier.co.uk

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