Please help me raise £1000 to represent Great Britain at the U21 European Taekwondo Championships.
Who am I?
I am Katie Bradley, I'm 18 years old and I have been training in the martial art of Taekwondo since I was 6 years old and have competed in Olympic Sport Taekwondo since I was 7.
I live and train in Plymouth and just started my degree in Mechanical Engineering at Plymouth University where I am proud to be a Sporting Excellence Scholar. I have been a SportsAid athlete for the last four years and a Plymouth "Making A Difference" athlete for the last two years and I am really thankful for their support.
What am I doing?
I'm really happy to be chosen to represent Great Britain at the U21 European Taekwondo Championships in Romania in November, and like everything I do its self-funded so I have to raise the £1300 to cover my expenses. Most people assume that if you are representing your country in Sport you don't have to pay anything but this is not true in many sports including Taekwondo.
If I don't pay then I can't go.
So all pledges and donations are really appreciated and will make a huge difference to my cause, not just getting me to U21 European Championships but getting me one tiny step closer to Tokyo 2020.
And PLEASE you can help EVEN MORE by SHARING my project link on your emails and social media so your family, friends and everyone can get involved.
Where the Money will go?
The target of £1000 will go towards the costs of getting me to the U21 Championships and includes:
- Entry Fees
- Team Kit
- all other extras, like water etc.
What have I done before?
I represented Great Britain at the 2014 World Junior Championships where I defeated several of the worlds top junior girls to bring home a 3rd place bronze medal :D I also represented Team England at the 2014 Commonwealth Championships which I won to take the Commonwealth Junior Champion title :D
I became a SENIOR (18+) this year so now I compete against the top women in the world and most of them train full time and are a lot older and more experienced than me, but I like a challenge! #ChallengeAccepted
My results this year are....
- German Club Championships - Champion
- Tongeren Open - Champion
- G2 Dutch Open - lost to World #5 in my first round
- Berlin Open - Champion
- G1 Spanish Open - Bronze
- British International Open - Champion
- G1 Polish Open - Quarter-finals, lost to Senior World Bronze medallist
- International Masters NRW Bonn - Bronze
Goals and WHY this competition is so important to me?
My long term goal is to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games and I am currently aiming for Tokyo 2020 as I have to earn Olympic ranking points at G-class international competitions in order to achieve this. This is done over a 4 year cycle and I am only just at the beginning of this cycle. Already in a few months I have gone from an unranked fighter to an Olympic rank of 207 out of over 600 women.
The U21 Europeans is just one stepping stone of many towards becoming an Olympian. Over the next 4 years I need to compete and medal at ranking competitions all over the world, and hopefully represent Great Britain at European and World Championships, World Grand Prix Series, University Games and more. My expenses for the first half of 2016 would be about £8,000 if I go to all the ranking competitions I need to. Its a constant struggle because I don't get ANY funding from Great Britain. It even costs me about £100-£120 in fuel and hotel every time I need to go to GB training in Manchester which is a 600 mile roundtrip.
We have to go begging all the time and its the most difficult part of my sport. I have been lucky the last few years to get bursaries and grants from SportsAid (SSE Next Generation), Plymouth "making a difference", DRDE Trust and PHSC Plc and I am very grateful for their support. I wouldn't have been able to achieve everything I have without their help but I have to reapply every year and nothing is guaranteed, and it doesn't add up to anywhere near what I need.
I started training in taekwondo at the age of 6 and I started competing a year later. I've always really enjoyed the training and I enjoyed the competition to start with. Then I started losing all the time, it was really tough, but I just kept training and training and competing and training. And eventually it came right and I started to win, just the odd match at first, then enough to medal and finally I started to win the whole compeition :D
The other thing that is really difficult is sometimes not being picked by GB, even when I think I am the better fighter. That has happened to me a few times. After feeling a bit disappointed and upset for a while I just train harder, work on my weaknesses, improve on my strengths and get determined to prove them wrong - and it has worked several times :D No one is going to stop me achieving my goals.
Its really tough living where we do - EVERYTHING we do means a long time travelling in the car; to training in Manchester, to competitions which are mostly in the north, to the airports to get our flights. Our days are so much longer and more expensive than for most people in my sport who live closer to Manchester and the airports. My poor dad has to do all the driving, sometimes starting 3am in the morning and getting home after midnight. My brother and sister can never arrange anything without checking that my dad isn't on taxi duty with me, they've missed birthdays and parties, been away on their own birthdays and sometimes been dragged around the country so that I could do my sport.
So now I am at senior level the challenges just got even harder. Now as a full time student and part time taekwondo fighter I have to compete against the top women in the world who train full time and have access to all the support and facilities they need - and I need to BEAT THEM! - but that's not going to stop me either. I WILL get there, it may take me longer but I am determined to succeed. And with YOUR help on this project I will have the chance to take another step on that long road to Tokyo 2020.
I have really enjoyed visiting primary schools to talk about my sport and hopefully inspire children to get involved. Taekwondo isn't just about competition but is great exercise, a lot of fun and you learn a lot of discipline. I also help teach our clubs beginners class when I can.
My training and competition costs to achieve my goals are a big problem, especially because I live in the South West and have to travel long distances to everything which costs more money in fuel and accommodation. I am one of three teenage children and my dad has looked after us for the last 8 years. He does his best but we are not well off. I do some fundraising on rare weekends off, baking and selling cupcakes.
There is an opportunity for individuals, organisations or companies to sponsor me on anything from a one-off basis to a longer-term (much preferred and more helpful) basis and we would love to discuss potential opportunities and we appreciate it's a two-way street. So if you are interested in the satisfaction of assisting a young athlete to achieve her goals and compete at elite level in her sport please get in touch. I will do my best to "give back" to anyone who sponsors me, training and studies permitting. I am interested in building strong relationships with sponsors which can develop over time as my career develops.