Last year, Larbert’s Asia Bailey became Scotland’s first Taekwondo athlete to win a medal at a World Championship when she took a Bronze Medal at the Junior Worlds in Egypt. And now her father – Seventh Dan Master, David Bailey – has returned from the World Masters Games in Italy with a Gold Medal, making him Scotland’s second World Medallist.
Billed as “the Olympics for Veterans” with all competitors over the age of 35, the World Masters Games, held in Turin, featured thirty sports played out at venues throughout the city. The Taekwondo event attracted 160 competitors from 27 countries.
51 year old David explained that competitors fought “…using Olympic rules and weight categories, split by age 35+ and 45+. There was a further split – Recreational & Competitive – Competitive being for players who have previously represented their country at international level. I was in “Competitive 45+ Under 68kg.”
In the semi-final, he defeated Finland’s European Masters Champion, Osmo Ulmala, 11-4 which earned David a final shot against Canada’s Ashley Castanela who has won the veteran category at the US Open six times. But Master Bailey put in an outstanding performance, hitting the Canadian with a number of spectacular back-kicks and eventually winning 7-3 to take gold.
“It’s exactly thirty years since my first international,” said David, “the World Championships in Denmark in August 1983. I decided I would have one more go at competing and the event in Turin turned out to be one of the highlights of my career. It would now seem like a good time to hang up the headguard and concentrate on supporting Asia’s career.”
Since winning her medal, 15 year old Asia has since been signed up to the World Class Programme at the Olympic Taekwondo Academy in Manchester, putting her firmly in the running for a place in the GB Taekwondo team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Taekwondo is a family affair in the Bailey household – David runs the award-winning Central Taekwondo Academy in Carronshore. As well as David and Asia, wife Angie and other daughters Paige and Ellise are black belts in the sport.