Taekwondo: Twin title wins boost Bailey’s Rio hopes

LARBERT High School’s Asia Bailey is just 15 but she is already setting her sights on the Rio 2016 Olympics – and she has strengthened her claim by winning two top international championshipsAs a result of her success – she has made history by becoming the youngest ever British athlete to take a Senior A Class Gold – Asia has been selected to represent GB at this month’s European under-21 Championships and the WTF World Championships in Mexico in July.

The recent victories in Hamburg and Eindhoven add to an already phenomenal year for the Falkirk Central Taekwondo Academy youngster, who claimed a bronze medal at last year’s World Junior Championships.

In February she took part in the Swedish Open Championships – her first senior event – and came home with a silver medal.

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Now she has exceeded all expectations by winning two A Class International gold medals only seven days apart.

First, she took top spot in the Junior Under-44kg division at the German Open in Hamburg, Europe’s biggest A Class event and a selection event for the Great Britain Team for this year’s Junior European Championships.

Then just a few days later she fought in the Senior Under-46kg category at the Dutch Open in Eindhoven against 20 players from 12 countries.

The young Scot produced her best performance to date, beating entrants from Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, France and Croatia in the final. “I was really happy to win the 
gold in Germany as it will help with my selection for this year’s Junior Europeans,” said Bailey. “I wasn’t expecting to do so well in Holland because I was competing with the seniors.

“My coaches said to just enjoy the tournament and get some good experience and it turned out to be my best event yet.”

Next up for Asia in April are the Belgian Open and then European Under-21 Championships in Moldova from 18-21 April.

In May, she will compete at the Spanish Open, the Austrian Open in June, the World Championships in July in Mexico, and then back to Korea for further training.