19 year old scholar Katie Bradley competes domestically and internationally in the Olympic sport of Taekwondo. She has represented Great Britain at Cadet, Junior and U21 levels, and is the current World Junior Bronze medallist and Commonwealth Junior Champion.
Since September, Katie has been learning to balance her elite training and competition schedule with her mechanical engineering studies at Plymouth University.
“Its really difficult to get the right balance and so far I’ve had to miss out on some important ranking internationals due to the structure of my course, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to compete at the highest levels and work towards Tokyo 2020,” explains Katie.
Like many students, the Christmas Holidays were anything but a holiday for Katie. Not only was she in training and preparation for the new season ahead, but she had to prepare for her end of semester final exams.
“There was no rest over Christmas and the last few weeks – in addition to my training – I spent many hours revising for my exams, but it was worth it! I just found out I got a first in maths! So it can be done,” says Katie.
This coming weekend, 30 January, Katie will compete in her first competition of the year, which just happens to be an international open in Diest, Belgium. Katie told us, “This is more of a warm-up competition for me but there are a lot of good competitors in it, including at least two full-time seniors who are ranked somewhere in the top 20 in the world. But I’m ready for the challenge!”
In preparation for the competition, Katie has been attending her regular club training, working out in the Students’ Union (UPSU) Sports Centre, and working on her own training in the early mornings on the UPSU squash courts. She also made a 500 mile round trip last weekend to attend a three hour squad training session in west London – revising in the car with her dad on the journey!
At the end of February Katie hopes to represent the University at the British Student Taekwondo Federation’s National Championships in Worcester.