Amy Truesdale bounces back ahead of Tokyo 2020
Para taekwondo world no.1 Amy Truesdale missed out on her third world title early this year at the World Championships in Turkey, but it seems she is now back in full fighting form and ready to take on Tokyo 2020.
The British para athlete emerged with a gold medal at the READY STEADY TOKYO – Para taekwondo Test Event last week, beating Dutch champion Lisa Gjessing in the finals in the K44 over 58kg class.
“I'm really pleased with it. I'm really happy with the outcome,” she said.
“I just feel really lucky to be here because it was so beneficial getting this practice in before the real Paralympic Games. It’s been really a beneficial competition for me."
Apart from winning gold in the test event, it was during the semi-finals where Truesdale truly blazed the stage in an exciting close fight with Australia’s Janine Watson.
Truesdale won by one point in the golden round after a 27-27 draw.
Now she intends to keep her winning momentum and has set her sights on claiming Paralympic glory when the sport makes its anticipated debut next year at Tokyo 2020.
“I'm training full time with the GB [team]. My goal is now obviously to keep training, to keep pushing myself and hopefully exactly the same thing will happen in 2020 and I will get gold again.”
With a year away before Tokyo 2020, Truesdale is happy to secure her Paralympic spot which may see her medal in her first Paralympic Games.
“I'm really excited. I'm really pleased even if it's still one year away. I just know that, but I keep pushing myself. Anything can happen in a year but I'm really pleased that I have qualified a spot.
Passion for disability sports
Truesdale started taekwondo at the age of seven and faced able-bodied athletes first before she switched seriously to para-taekwondo in 2009.
“I’ve been doing taekwondo originally, and then moved to para taekwondo because this is something different.”
“And because I'm very passionate about promoting disability sports, I thought I'd be a perfect candidate to do para taekwondo. Once I started doing the pro competitions, I wanted to keep doing it.”
With the inclusion of para taekwondo in next year’s Paralympic programme line up, Truesdale thinks this is already helping create more interest for the power packed martial arts sport to grow in popularity and encourage more participants to try it out.
“In Britain, it's doing really well. We've got a bigger team and now we've got actual programmes and team members. And globally, it has increased over the years.”
“It's just growing and growing. So after Tokyo 2020, hopefully it will grow again.”
She is determined to achieve medal success in her first Paralympic Games, but Truesdale’s other personal mission is to promote disability sports.
"I want to be the face of para taekwondo" - Amy Truesdale
“I want to be the face of para taekwondo – that’s my drive to keep doing it.”
“I want to inspire one person to take up a sport - even if it's not taekwondo. I just think it's very important [to say] to anyone with a disability ‘if you get somebody motivated to go and get a job or somebody motivated to join a sports club, and as long as it's inclusive, and everyone can be involved'.
"That's my passion to promote it."
“If there are parents who have children with disabilities who encourage them into sports, it does show that even if you have an ability, it's your ability not your disability that matters.”
About Para taekwondo
Taekwondo is a new Paralympic sport at Tokyo 2020. Events are divided into four sport classes, K41 to K44, with K41 being for athletes with the greatest degree of impairment. Men and women will each compete in three weight classes – from -61 kilos to +75kg for men, and from -49kg to +58kg for women. Head and trunk protectors are worn.