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64 Days Left
I was first introduced to the art of karate in 1989 and began training in 1990. Both my parents were students at the local club and, as money was tight, a babysitter was not an option so I was often taken along to classes. As the weeks passed I began to gain an interest in the movements I observed. Within my first 2 months of training I was invited to attend the Competition Squad and collected my first medal in 1992 at what was then the Cadet Nationals. In 1995 I reached my peak as a cadet, taking the titles of National, North of England, Eastern, Cumbria Open, Newcastle Open, Traditional Karate Open and EKGB Champion. I then finished off a successful year with achieving the grade of black belt.
During the season of 1996, I was diagnosed with a medical issue that was severely affecting my right knee joint and was advised to reduce the training regime and minimise competing. Whilst undergoing several operations I took the option to develop as an instructor and began to assist my chief instructor in launching karate lessons for children aged between 5-11yrs. I took this option as I did not want this injury to thwart my love and passion for the sport as well as an opportunity to give back to the community. At the same time, I begun to pick up the pace with training, even through the pain and frustration of dealing with my knee.
Then in 2003, while employed as a personal protection operative (Bodyguard) I received a severe head injury. Due to this injury, I had to stop training, competing, and instructing. When I finally completed my rehabilitation, I needed to get myself back to work and reestablished within the security industry and personal protection circuit.
I had a difficult decision to make, a decision that tore my heart apart; but I had to think practically and sensibly. At that point earning a living had become a priority; but I could not suppress my fighting instincts. So I began looking for a martial arts club, but I struggled to find one of a similar style. So I decided to try something new and joined a boxing gym. Although I was enjoying boxing and collecting the odd medal here and there, deep in my heart I knew Karate was my sport and that the desire to be the best never left me. So during the later part of 2009 I returned home with the intention of making a fresh appearance on the competition circuit: I wanted to see if I still had what was required to be up there with the top competitors.
Then the call came and like a pin bursting a bubble, the dream was over, I said goodbye to the sporting family I had gained and was off once again protecting those that needed it.
Following Tokyo winning the Olympic bid and introducing the sport of Karate into the 2020 games and the pain of losing my main inspiration, and my number one fan when my father passed away in 2014. I decided to reconnect with my lifelong passion and go for one last final dream, gaining that place on Team GB would be the perfecting ending to the story, but not just any story, my story of an ordinary young girl from a small town called Otley, who wasn't afraid to try things, who refused to give up and decided to do something different with her life.