A YEAR on from storming to bronze at the World Junior Taekwondo Championships, Plymouth’s Katie Bradley insists it is all systems go as she aims to edge closer to her Olympic dream.
Bradley, who took up the sport aged 11 as a way to gain self-confidence after being bullied, broke through on the international stage in 2013, when she took junior -44kg gold at the Belgian and Dutch International Opens.
But the Plymouth High School for Girls pupil was not content there and backed that up with a stellar 2014 which included both junior and senior -49kg gold at the Luxembourg Open as well as the world junior bronze in Taipei – a result that also saw her ranked as the number one Junior European fighter.
Bradley’s current calendar is just as busy with the 18-year-old travelling out to Spain next week for the Spanish Open.
With the ultimate target being making her bow at an Olympic Games, Bradley insists steady progress is the short-term aim.
“I won the Dutch and Belgian Opens in 2013 which were my first big wins,” the South Hams Taekwondo Club ace said.
“And then last year, I came third at the World Junior Championships in Taipei, Taiwan with Team GB. It was hard because I fought five matches – the most I’ve ever fought at a tournament.
“I always start slow in competitions like that but in the round 16 and quarters at that tournament I won by a 12-point gap, which is when they stop the fight.
“Training as been going really well lately and next up for me is going to Spain for the Spanish Open on April 10 and 11.
“I just want to keep progressing and showing what I can do. My long term aims are to compete at an Olympic Games. Realistically for me this is Tokyo 2020 and this is the plan I am working on.”
Last summer also saw Bradley selected as a baton-bearer for the Commonwealth Games relay while her potential has not gone unnoticed, being selected as one of 100 athletes to join the SSE Next Generation programme.
The programme provides young athletes with financial help and mentoring from top names including Sir Chris Hoy, Sharron Davies and Judy Murray.
And Bradley believes it will only be to her benefit as she aims to make a name for herself among the senior ranks.
“It’s great to join the SSE program and have this opportunity to hear other people’s advice who have got further than me and experienced different things,” she added.
“It’s always handy to take advice from other people and hopefully I can use it to help me, not just when competing, but in my training, my nutrition and also other aspects of being a competitive athlete.”
This weekend, Katie once again proved promises of progression, bringing home her first Senior G1 Medal from the 2015 Spanish Open (10th April 2015).
SSE’S Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Take a look at this interview with Katie, as she highlights some recent accomplishments in her Taekwondo career, and explains what receiving the support means to her.