It’s bronze in Berlin for Katie
There’s never a good time to come down with a virus when you’re an athlete and for Katie the timing couldn’t have been any more unfortunate than last weekend.
On arrival in Germany for the Berlin Open International, she was so unwell it didn’t look likely that she’d even be able to step into the ring, let alone make her fight weight. As a result she was forced to move up a weight category and enter the -53kgs division, save her energy and get a good night’s sleep.
It takes a lot to prevent Katie from doing anything, so at 6am on Saturday morning, whilst still feeling quite unwell, she decided she would give it her best effort.
The day started with a relatively early match against a much taller fighter from Belgium. Katie controlled the match from the get-go and very quickly opened up a lead. Struggling to breathe at times she made her efforts in short burst and was 6-0 up at the end of the first round. The break gave her a short recovery time before she was into action again, continuing to control every aspect of the match. Very soon she was 10-2 ahead, at which point she momentarily lost positioning and took a heavy blow to the face, knocking her to the floor and receiving an eight count from the referee (during which time the referee visually and verbally assesses a fighter’s ability to continue). Katie was fit and continued as before, eventually winning the match 13-5 to move into the quarter finals.
Afterwards Katie said:
“Well wasn't expecting that! Jennifer caught with a great headshot though – that’s probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit and I definitely felt it! But now I know how hard I can get hit and keep going!”. Who says Taekwondo isn’t a tough game?! Katie was left with marks and bruising after that clash.
Next up, after about four hours of waiting around, was a quarter final with Sweden. By now Katie was feeling a little stronger and up for the challenge. It was a tougher affair than the first match, with each fighter scoring their share of body shots and headshots. On one occasion Katie struck her opponent with a clear face-shot but unfortunately it wasn’t as clear on the video review and was denied. There were several other close/unscored headshots that failed to be credited to Katie, but she was in control and biding her time despite the closeness of the score – 6-6 in the final seconds of the match. As cool as a cucumber Katie manipulated her opponent into position and then struck with a headshot in the final second of the match, scoring the three points and taking the match win 9-6! (This also sparked memories of a last second win in Belgium earlier in the year!).
“That match felt a lot more messy but if the scoring had been better I probably won 15-6 and that’s not so bad. I’m very happy to make the medal rounds!”
So now guaranteed a medal, next up was the semi-final against Katie’s Danish friend. The two friends, very respectful and supportive of each other, have competed on a number of occasions, the most important and majority of results in Katie’s favour. However the last time they met Katie didn’t have such a good day and was defeated by 12 points gap. It was unfortunate that this time Katie wasn’t at full strength but she was determined to put their last meeting behind them.
As you can imagine the match was very cagey, but due to an error on Katie’s part Alberte managed to score a headshot against her during the first round, leaving it 0-3 at the break. Katie changed tack in the second round and neither player was able to take real advantage until the last 15 seconds, when Alberte attacked to score a single body-shot and Katie countered and scored a spinning body-shot worth three points (which she had been perfecting for weeks in her morning training sessions at the UPSU squash courts!) to leave the score 4-6. Despite her best efforts Katie was unable to close the score in the remaining time and Denmark took the 6-4 win… and went on to win the final and take the title.
So it was a well-deserved and quite unexpected Bronze for Katie on this occasion. Of course she wanted to win, she’s a competitor, but considering 24 hours earlier it look liked she’d made the trip for nothing and would spend the day in bed, it was a very credible performance.
Katie told us:
“I’m very grateful to Plymouth University for my Sporting Excellence Scholarship which enables me to participate at competitions like this; it makes a huge difference to me.”
Katie will spend the next four weeks training and preparing for the G1 Greece Open whilst completing her final assignments, revising and taking her final first year exams for the BSc (Hons) Mechanical Design and Manufacture degree at the University.
Well done Katie! Good luck with your exams!