(AALIYAH POWELL) I’m Aaliyah Powell,
15 years old, from Huddersfield, and I’m junior world champion
NATIONAL TAEKWONDO CENTRE) My sister was a sportsperson, and from a young age
I went to watch her training. She trained around people like
Jessica Ennis. And that’s when I first
heard about the Olympics. Oh, I don’t know
where to start, because I was so busy with
the two older girls, from them doing their sport etc,
one doing from dancing to athletics, so poor Aaliyah, she
was always in the background. Aaliyah’s always been
in the background, because there’s a ten-year
age gap between them. So she was like a young child
and always being carted around and following you round. When she was seven, actually, there was a local
taekwondo centre. So, within two weeks she
actually graded and got, like, a 91%, and from that,
the coaches even from then said they’d never seen a white belt
kick like that. I’ll never forget that
from that day. When I was about 12 years old, I applied to go to
the Cadet Worlds. I wasn’t expecting to get
picked, but I did get picked. So I went to Korea. I don’t think I could do what
she’s doing and carry myself the way she carries herself
at 15. And, ultimately, at 12,
went to Korea on your own. It was the first time
she’d been selected for GB. She barely knew the team. She was 12 years old, and
she flew thousands of miles, basically, you know,
without her parents. That was my first international
competition, and I thought… ..if I can go there at that age
and not be that far from the best, then I’ve got
a good chance. Just off the back of that,
the trip to Korea, it definitely opened her eyes,
not just to, “Oh, it’s Korea,” it’s the home of taekwondo. The competition out there
was, like, crazy. The thing with GB taekwondo,
we’ve got such a good base now, like we’ve literally gone from
nothing to having, you know, a world-leading programme. We’ve got everything we need
here, like the training, like video analysis, nutrition. You know, we’ve got the best
coaches and all the best staff, so I think it’s just going from
strength to strength, really. They’ve got so many good
rumbles right now in the senior squad – her, Bianca, Lauren, everyone else.
You know what I mean? You’ve got Cho, you’ve got
Lutalo and Christian… There’s so many people
doing really well on the senior scale, so it gives
our guys that boost. GB Taekwondo have produced
great athletes, really strong, especially female athletes. When I come here… ..the intensity’s higher, which
makes you train a lot harder. And also, when you’ve got
big names like Bianca and Jade, it makes you want to
perform better, because you want to
impress them. (PERSONAL BEST, 2018 WORLD
JUNIOR TAEKWONDO CHAMPION) I think she’s literally
just got no fear. Like, when she’s fighting,
she’s free, and, you know, she’s doubled like a boy and just does so many
different techniques. And, you know, she’s got
that fight, as well, and that is important. Like, you know, some kids don’t
want to get stuck in the fight, they just like
the game of taekwondo, whereas she’s not scared
to have a fight. And yet obviously
the advantage of, you know, she’s got great long legs,
so good for head shots, good for keeping
the opponent away. I think she’s got, like,
a lot of star qualities that could be good
for the future. In terms of what she can
achieve, it sounds a bit cliched, but, like, the amount
of talent she has, it’s just whatever she wants as long as
she applies herself properly. She’s always known
what she wants. To be honest, we’ve got
a phrase at the moment – “she’s the boss”. She is running her things
the way she wants it. And I know for a fact that
she could definitely come away with that gold,
be an Olympic champion. She’s really young
going into this Youth Olympics. I remember I was 17 so, you
know, at the top of the scale, whereas she’s 15,
so, you know, she’s, like, one of the youngest in it! So that’s amazing, to even,
you know, to be world champion and to get picked to go. I think it’s also a good
experience to not just go to a competition with your team
in taekwondo but it’s GB as a whole, so lots of other sports,
new people. So I think it’s
a great experience to get to know new faces. And in the Olympics in
a couple of years’ time, when we’re all together, it could be
the same group of people. But I’m more focused on 2024. (HER TIME IS NOW)

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