VIXENSPORTS AND TAEKWONDO
Join VixenSports as we follow the talent of Kate McAdam in Taekwondo!! Kate will be sharing all of her Taekwondo experiences right here!!ABOUT KATE MCADAM
“She said she could, she believed she could & she did”
Have you ever had one of those competition days that felt like a total nightmare where you wished the day had been nothing but a bad dream?
I have and I’m sure most if not all athletes reading this have too.
Well that was my reality a little over a month ago at the G2 world ranked Presidents Cup event in Canberra.
Earlier in the year it was announced that the Presidents Cup would act as a back door entry to the G4 world Ranked Oceania Championships later on in the year – An alternative route to your standard national team selection event to be able to compete at the Oceania Championships.
Everyone in the snr circuit wants to be able to compete at the G4 Oceania Championships because it is the highest ranked event that is held in the Oceania region every two years, and one that sees you earn big world ranking points without having to travel too far.
Coming back to competition at the beginning of this year and given when the presidents was to be held, I set my eyes on that event to be the one where I really did well, I figured it was enough time to get physically and mentally back into top form along with getting the necessary competition practice back under my belt.
4 weeks out from the presidents after overcoming a lot of personal, physically and mental obstacles I finally as though things were falling into place, consistently feeling good, seeing improvements in all areas of my life and finding the same feeling I had while training and competing prior to my injury, honestly feeling the best and most confident I’d felt in over a year.
The night before competition day, the draw came out and I was pleasantly surprised with my side of the draw, I was no.2 Australian seed with multiple Koreans in my division who I was eager to fight, I knew that fighting them would really give me a good indication as to where I currently sit in terms of performance and would see me qualify for Oceania, all I had to do was get through the first round.
To be honest competition day at the presidents cup is a bit of blur to me now, however there are a few distinct things that I remember leading up to my fight, I felt a new sense of confidence and calmness, two things that normally wouldn’t go hand in hand with me on any fight day prior to my injury – Those close know how nervous I get, to the point where I’m rushing off to do nervous wees right up until I need to check into marshalling – on this day no such thing! I felt strong and calm during my warm up and excited to get into the ring, I had a game plan which I felt good about and then the time came to jump into the ring, and it all just fell apart…
From memory I was down on points from the get go, giving away easy points with no such luck in gaining them back, in the last part of the match however I managed to close the gap but lost the bout in the last dying seconds…It just wasn’t to be on this day and it hurt so bad.
I don’t remember ever feeling so hurt over a loss, it’s no secret that I hate loosing, but this one really hurt given the obstacles I’d over come to get to this point.
Fast forward 6 weeks and we arrived at the 2016 Australian National Championships in Bendigo Victoria, I had shot at redemption, another chance to make it to the Oceania Championships and also a chance to make the Australian National team.
Honestly my preparation for this event was probably at an all-time low, I had come off the Presidents Cup with a terrible case of shins splints which I just couldn’t shake, followed by being hit with the flu, which lead me to be the sickest I’ve been in years, finishing off my prep with a head cold, everything that could’ve possibly happened in this preparation cycle happened, despite all of this I was feeling at an all-time high mentally and emotionally, I had the simple belief that despite all odds and lack of physical prep, I could still win, I knew that deep down if I kept a calm mind and listened to my coach, my body would follow…and it did.
Almost 18 months to the day post knee reconstruction surgery and after 3 tough fights I earned my spot on the AUS national team, took out my 4th national title and qualified for the Oceania Championships in Fiji later this year.
By no means was my performance pretty, and in fact I started out quite sluggish, given my prep this was no surprise, but by the 3rd and final fight I had well and truly found my feet and it was enough to get through and convincingly take the win, sometimes that’s just the nature of our sport – doing enough to win.
To be able to explain how it felt to be in this position 18 months on post-surgery is something that I’m still trying to grasp, I feel so incredibly grateful to say the least. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I always believed in my heart of hearts it was possible.
So now it’s back home and back to the drawing board, time to refocus and plan for the Oceania Championships at the end of November.
On one last note, there’s a few people I would like to thank who helped make this possible:
My coach Di Carn, you’re my rock both on and off the court, your belief in me and my dreams is something I’ll never ever be able to thank you enough for, know how much I appreciate all that you do for me and the rest of our team! #dynamicduoisback
My awesome training partners who have been in my corner since day 1, Hendy & Jonny Lu you guys rock! Thanks for being on the receiving end of headaches & being winded, not ever complaining, just smiling and knowing it would be worth it.
Master Jeff Crane, thank you for your support, thank you for your wise and helpful words, you’ve helped me more than you probably realise.
To my amazing sponsors & supporters: Layne Beachley Aim For The Stars Foundation ,
VIRUS Aust, CastleGate Financial, VixenSports thank you for your ongoing support along this journey and for allowing me to represent you and share my story also!
And last but not least, to my beautiful grandma and my number 1 supporter who I miss every day, this wins for you x
The road from injury through recovery, back into training and into competitive sport is by no means an easy road. It’s physically taxing and emotionally draining and some days it’s just really hard in every sense of the word.
Since my last post, I made my re-debut back into competitive taekwondo, kicking the year off at the NZ Open where I managed to bring home a Silver medal after just falling short of the Gold in a 4th round golden point. While ever I brought home the Silver medal that day, I felt like more of a winner than ever before. What a blast and what a thrill, walking into the ring with my coach and having her back in my chair, guiding me through each fight, the energy and adrenaline soaring through my body as I began the fight and made my first shout to begin, with the cheers from the crowd behind me and the feeling of the mats under my feet as I kicked and made contact with my opponent is something that I will never ever take for granted again.
A few weeks later we had the NSW State titles, and after another close encounter this time the Gold was mine. I became NSW State champion again – 1 year and 3 weeks post ACL reconstruction and meniscal repair surgery. And in the last two weeks, I competed at the 2016 Gold Coast Open where after a tough weekend of fighting across two weight divisions I was able to bring home the Gold in my primary division (+73kg weight class) and Bronze in my secondary division (68-73kg weight class) after just falling short in another 4th round golden point. Results aside, every competition I attend and every fight I fight, I’m ticking boxes and achieving a lot of short term goals, chipping away and finding my fighting style in the ring again.
Coming back from any injury can be hard, especially one which has ruled you out from the competition arena for a significant time, it’s not an easy road to travel, and in some ways I didn’t think it would be this hard emotionally. No one prepares you for the emotional effects returning from injury has you and I was probably a little naïve in thinking that once I was physically good and strong again everything else would be great also! This hasn’t exactly been the case, while ever my knee is better than ever and physically I’m great in every sense of the word – getting stronger with each session, there’s been a lot I’ve had to overcome mentally and emotionally during training.
After talking to my coach and physio trying to nut out my concerns I soon found out that this is completely normal for elite athletes returning to training and competition, particularly those with the type of injury that I suffered. According to my physio it is generally within the first 12 months after coming back from injury, that a lot of athletes quit their chosen pursuit altogether because emotionally the return to training and competing just gets all too much and they lose sight of their long term goals, falling into the idea that they will never make it back to their former peak physical state.
For me, I refuse to be another one of those stats, I refuse to let the tough times get the better of me, I know that getting back to my peak state physically, mentally and performance wise is a process and one that will take time and patience – I’ve always known that. There will be tough times, but there will also be a lot of really good times along the way. I guess it’s nice to know that the way I’m feeling is in fact normal and all part of returning to the sport I love so much.
In the last week I’ve made some tough personal decisions which in turn have had a really positive effect on me, perhaps more so than what I initially thought they would. I’ve already noticed a big shift in the way I’m feeling both in and out of the ring, and during training – fighting the best I’ve fought in a long time.
Step by step, day by day, things are coming together and I’m loving this sport more than I ever thought possible.
Right now my focus is on enjoying each session, continuing to tick each short term goal I’ve set for myself and keeping in mind my long term goals, blocking out or getting rid of any negativity that attempts to come my way.
Hey Vixens, it’s been a while! And what a start to 2016 it’s been!!
After saying goodbye and good riddance to a tumultuous 2015, and ringing in the new year in style, it was straight back into training to prepare for a big 2016.
In late December last year I was notified of my nomination to the 2016 Olympic Shadow team, given my injury ruled me out of some major international events last year, this news was huge!
For those who don’t know, the shadow team acts as a reserve team for the Olympic team. The top seeds from each male and female division make up the shadow team and in the event that one of our Olympic representatives aren’t able to compete, a replacement athlete can be nominated from the shadow team if they are deemed the next best medal contender.
With an exciting year planned out in terms of competing, training and other personal goals in sight, and continuing on from last year’s training regime, it’s been game on with some serious preseason conditioning since January to ensure I become as fit and conditioned as I was prior to my knee injury. With that said I’m feeling better than ever being back into the full swing of things, feeling more motivated than ever to hit 2016 hard.
My journey so far this year has already seen me do a week long training camp on the Gold Coast with Qld & Australian team coach Ben Hartman and his awesome team, where we were put through a week of gruelling beach training, plyometric sessions and sparring/scenario training. It was an awesome week had by all with good people and great athletes and I returned home with some valuable lessons learnt and experience gained.
A few weeks after returning home from camp, I had a somewhat unexpected phone call, receiving the best news from the one and only LAYNE BEACHLEY to let me know I had been chosen as a 2016 ambassador for Layne’s Aim for the Stars Foundation, whilst also wining a grant to go towards my sporting goals and dreams! (Let’s just say I was fan-girling a little hard, talking to Layne! Haha – She’s been my hero since I was a kid!) This is beyond a dream come true in itself and something that I am so proud and excited to be a part of. Weeks later and I’m still pinching myself!
A fantastic initiative set up by the awe-inspiring Layne herself, she created this foundation with the aim to help, mentor and inspire young women from around the country in their chosen pursuits. The foundation is also assisting financially by giving out grants to chosen recipients each year while also mentoring and helping shape them to become the leaders of tomorrow. This is something that I am incredibly passionate about and something that I am so proud, humbled and honoured to be a part of.
A huge thank you goes out to two very special inspiring ladies, my coach Di Carn and mentor Mel Thomas from the KYUP! Project, these two have been absolute god sends on my journey so far, their help, guidance, support, belief and friendship is something that I will never be able to thank them enough for.
2016 is already turning out to be a year full of excitement and I can’t wait to what the rest of the year has in store…stay tuned and watch this space for more!
“The fight is won or lost far away from witness – behind the lines, in the gym, and out on the road, long before I danced under those lights”
It’s been a tough road travelled this year – Since injuring my knee back in early March I feel like this whole year has been one big fight, going in round after round, some good rounds where I would walk away feeling good and on top, then some not so good, where I would be left to ask myself what happened?!
Just like with any fight it’s been tough, physically, mentally, emotionally. But as with any fight, good or bad, I have walked away having learnt more about myself and finding more clarity about the direction I’m headed in.
This week I officially hit my 7 months post op for an ACL reconstruction and Meniscal repair, two days earlier I ended up taking out the Bronze medal at the G1 ranked Oceania Open Championships at the AIS in Canberra.
Over the last couple of months, my knee and supporting muscles have been getting stronger and stronger, between the multiple gym sessions, pool sessions and physio sessions each week, I finally reached a point where my leg actually looked like it has some good muscles mass coming through. I am now able to run at a comfortable pace, even sprinting very close to the level I was at prior to my injury. After consulting with multiple people in my team I have even made it back to the Taekwondo mats working on my foot work, kicking, padding up and doing sparring scenario work and small amounts of sparring.
Feeling good and back in the game after what has felt like a lifetime, and after consulting with my coach Di Carn, I made a last minute descion to enter the Oceania Open. A crazy decision given I was not even 7 months post op? Perhaps, but I felt strong and confident enough in my own ability to at least go in and give it a good shot, and with Di in my corner as always, I knew that she would have my best interest at heart and call it if she felt I wasn’t in a good position.
After weighing in, getting accredited, the draw was released and I was pleasently suprised to have the second seed – Not bad seeing as I’d been out all year!
Game day arrived and I was feeling good, however after to making it through to the semi finals, I ended up having to bow out to take home the Bronze after feeling a slight niggle in my knee earlier on in the day – This by no means was a decision taken lightly, and it’s not what I’m about, but it was something that was essential for my longevity in the sport.
You could say this Bronze is bittersweet, I know deep down I could have gone all the way, but after having learnt the hard way, I now know that I need to listen to my body when it is calling out and I know that when I had surgery 7 months ago, I honestly didn’t think I would even be attempting to compete at this point in time. So I walk away with a nice shiny Bronze and some valuable world ranking points to cap off the year and a feeling of excitement as to what lies ahead for the new year, as I make a full return to the sport I love so much.
For now, the focus is on continuing to get stronger and stronger and prepare myself a big 2016!!
It goes with out saying, that I would not be here with out my support team – From my close family and friends, to my coach Di and my Irontiger family, to my extended Taekwondo family around the country, to my physio and surgeon, to everyone who has reached out and sent their well wishes and messages of support and to my amazing loyal sponsors MOOTO Australia & New Zeland & VIRUS Action Sport Australia – THANK YOU.
Hey guys, it’s been a while since my last post for VixenSports – In fact my last update was not too long after surgery!
To put it into perspective, it’s been a total of 5 months, 140 days, 3,360 hours, 201,600 minutes, and a whopping 12,096,000 seconds since my injury and since I last threw a kick!!
The road to recovery from any injury is never fun. It’s a long, draining process that tests you both physically and mentally. Your patience and will power is put to the test in ways that you never thought possible. It’s tiring and it’s frustrating, and truth be told, some days are a lot harder than others.
In the last 5 months I’ve seen my fair share of good and bad days, and I can totally understand why professionally paid athletes who succumb to serious injury or retire, sometimes have trouble dealing with it. To go from training 2-3 times a day, 6-7 days a week, a to all of a sudden absolutely nothing, is tough – really tough! For me, I don’t ever remember a time when I haven’t been physically active in some form. If I wasn’t throwing kicks and doing Taekwondo, I was out surfing or kicking a soccer ball, or going for a run – so the early days of this whole journey have been incredibly hard for me. Being restricted to the bed, the lounge and on crutches, and then even having to be careful walking once the crutches were gone has been harder than expected.
If there’s one thing that this whole process has taught me, it’s that patience is a virtue and it’s something that I am now full of! It’s by no means an easy road, but I promise you it does get better.
I can’t stress to you just how important it is to have a good support team around you – I’ve been fortunate enough to have been blessed with an amazing team of family, friends, coach and team mates, sponsors, physios and even fans who have never been far away in my times of need, times where I needed to talk and let of some steam and times when I just needed some words of wisdom or encouragement.
Fast forward 5 months and my recovery is well and truly on track, last week I saw Dr Nagamori for what will be the second last time, and in his words “Your knee is coming along very well, in fact the graft is as strong as hell!” and I now don’t have to see him till the end of the year for one last check-up before I make my return to competition.
In between all the Dr appointments and physio / rehab sessions I’ve had a lot of time to sit back reflect and gather my thoughts, set goals and also begin my planning for next year’s competition season and even read a couple of books such as Sally Pearson’s “Believe”.
I’ve also been back at the gym for the last couple of months on a strength and conditioning program to help turn my legs back into the weapons they were prior to my injury as well as some general balance and stability exercises from my physios, and damn does it feel good – It’s safe to say I will never ever take the soreness in my muscles or as I like to call them my training hangovers for granted ever again!
5 months, 1 ACL reconstruction, 1 meniscal repair, 1 third degree hamstring tear, hours of physio and rehabilitation later and I’m starting to do some light straight kicks (no turning kicks just yet), skipping and foot work drills, which feels like a pretty good start to the comeback! 😉
At the end of the day I guess it’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do with what you’ve got, it’s about keeping those goals and dreams insight and adjusting your plan to make sure you do get to where you want to be and with a great support team behind you, everything and anything is possible and while ever it’s a tough journey to be on, I don’t believe that I would change it because as the saying goes “anything worth achieving doesn’t get given to you on a silver platter – anything worth achieving comes with a lot of hard work, dedication and determination”
With my eyes firmly on the prize, I’m hungrier than ever to pick up where I left off and continue my journey to the top but content knowing that I’m a hell of a lot closer today than I was yesterday or in this case 5 months ago.
On one last note a special thank you to my sponsors: MOOTO Australia & New Zealand, VIRUS Action Sport Performance and Rocktape Australia for their continued support throughout this whole experience – To know I have you guys in my corner through thick and thin and everything in between is something that I am truly grateful for, I can’t thank you all enough.
And to VixenSports thank you for allowing me to share my story with the good and the bad and everything in between, to be able to share my journey and help promote women in sport is something I am truly privileged to be apart of!
Hi guys, well it’s been a crazy big few weeks since my last post, and with that said I am pleased to say that I am now officially well on my way to recovering!!
Since my last post I had the pleasure of watching some of my team mates from Irontiger bring home the goods at the local ASAMA competition. They all performed amazing, showing true fighting spirit and I couldn’t have been more proud!! I also met up with the teamAUS head coach Ali Khalil and was informed that I had been invited to attend a 2 week training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in April with the Thailand National team! Unfortunately due to my injury I won’t be able to attend, but am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and look forward to attending future camps when I’m back fighting fit again!
A few days later and at long last the big day arrived, SURGERY DAY!! I was first up on the surgery list on the Thursday morning and was in at hospital at the crack of dawn!! Being my first operation I was a little nervous, but with the help of the amazing nurses around me I soon relaxed into the whole thing. To be honest I was just happy to be there, knowing I was finally getting this knee fixed!!
After being wheeled into the operating theatre and taking it all in, I fell into one of the best yet quickest sleeps I’ve ever had!! After waking up in recovery feeling pretty cloudy, and then being wheeled back to the ward, I saw the surgeon who said the operation went really well. He seemed very happy with his handy work, so I’ll have a few nice scars to show off in the near future!!
That afternoon, I was allowed to go home full of pain killers, where I lived on the recliner for the next few days. The following 48 – 72 hrs after returning home were fun. The pain killers from hospital had worn off and any slight movement or weight on my knee sent excruciating pain up my whole leg! This is not something I ever want to experience again!! However knowing that surgery was over and that I was now beginning the road to recovery made it all the more bearable.
With a few days of solid rest and pain killers at hand, and catching up on lots of trashy daytime TV, the following few days were a bit more eventful. Getting up and moving around, slowly beginning to weight bare again and running through the exercises I’d been given before surgery. With that, I had my first physio session which as expected was quite an interesting experience. I left feeling as if I’d just run a marathon! With that said I felt a small sense of achievement, already reaching small milestones like being able to get my knee almost completely straight and then flexed to 90 degrees! I also had my first follow up – 1 week post Op appointment with my surgeon, Dr Nagamori, who was very happy with his handy work. As part of the reconstruction, I had a part of my hamstring taken to reconstruct the torn ligament as well as a small metal plate put in the top part of my leg and a screw to secure my newly reconstructed ACL – Very cool! And thankfully I am now free of my hip to ankle brace that I had been wearing for the past month! Dr Nagamori is undoubtedly a perfectionist in what he does and after getting a first look at his handy work I received some great feedback from him which was very promising to hear!
I’ve since been back to training to watch the Jnr and Snr sparring sessions to take notes and begin training in other areas of the sport. It’s tough taking a back seat watching everyone train. I’m already itching to kick, but with plenty of physio I can already feel myself getting stronger and more confident with each passing day. With the amazing support of my team, family, friends, supporters, and sponsors it certainly makes this crazy journey all the more easier and I can’t thank everyone enough for all the beautiful messages of support. Stay tuned for more!
Hey guys as you know with training and competing at the highest level you put your body through alot of wear on a day to day basis. Even with the best recovery routine there’s always an increased risk of injury for elite athletes, and unfortunately in recent weeks I’ve succumbed to a pretty decent knee injury which will keep me off the mats for the next few months..
Honestly, it’s been quite a tough couple of weeks physically and emotionally and I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced every emotion under the sun. From the initial shock of knowing I’ve sustained a pretty serious injury, to the uncertainty of not knowing when I will be able to return to work, to the worry of wondering if my sponsors will still back me, to the pure sadness and dissapointment of realising that I won’t be in the ring anytime soon along with feelings of anger and frustration and asking myself “why me?”
After running through all these emotions I thought back to when I met John Farrow, an Olympic skeleton athlete who overcame a similar injury to achieve his Olympic dream, and have decided to take a page from his book and reframe my goals for this year…
While this isn’t the ideal situation, these are the cards I’ve been dealt and I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason. With that in mind I’m going to make the most of this situation and now switch my focus to other aspects of the game, which I have probably pushed aside in recent times, as well as getting other areas of my mind and body into top shape!!
As tough as it’s been lately, I have to say I have been incredibly humbled by the amazing support I have received from all around me. From my wonderful family & friends, to my amazing coach Di Carn and team mates at Irontiger to my awesome work mates and managers at Box Corporate and last but not least to my incredible sponsors at Mooto Aust & NZ, VIRUS Aust and RockTape who have been nothing short of amazing – Without all of your love and support I know the last couple of weeks would have been that much harder.
With surgery ahead, I now look forward to beginning the road to recovery and can’t wait to see what lies ahead on this crazy journey!! Stay tuned for updates as I document my road to recovery!!
“It’s not any easy road, but it’s a road well worth taking”
After a rough start to the 2015 competition season – I recieved some great news this morning, advising me that I am now the highest ranked Female Australian heavyweight athlete currently on the world circuit.
Today the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) released the 2015 Feburary World and Olympic rankings, and I am pleased to say that my rankings now stand at:
World Ranking F +73kg division: no #39 in the world
Olympic Ranking F +68kg division: no # 60 in the world
Taekwondo can be a draining sport physically, mentally and emotionally – but I guess that’s why I have such a love for this sport, because it is challenging in all aspects, and I know that when things do fall into place, it makes all the tough times on this journey so very worth it.
I am so very grateful to be on this journey. Forever learning, not only about the sport, but about myself. Exceeding the expectations of myself and those around me, pushing my limits and reaching for goals that were once only but a dream that I am now turning into a reality.
Thank you all for the unwavering support as I continue to chase my dreams.
World Champs team trials 2015:
The 2015 competition has officially kicked off and I recently had the opportunity to return to the AIS to attend the Australian team trial event for the World Taekwondo Championships which are to be held in Russia in mid May.
Being the first competition of the year I knew it would be tough especially being a selection event for the World Champs, however I was confident in the training I had done over the Christmas / New year break and early into this year, feeling good both pysically and mentally.
Over the Christmas / New year break I had disscussed at length with my coach Di about the possibilty of dropping weight categories in 2015 from heavyweight to middleweight, after alot of success fighting in heavyweight for the last few years but always being on the shortest and lightest end of the scale for my division I made the decision to drop weight categories and give middleweight a go hoping that I would then be on the taller end of the scale, while still being able to maintain my power and strength from the heavyweight division. In some ways it was probably a gamble deciding to fight in a forgein weight division for a selection event, however I figured I still had a pretty good chance of doing well.
Competition day came around and I woke up feeling nervous as hell – but good! Those who know me, are used to the fact that I become swamped with nerves a week out from competition right up until the moment I walk onto the mat and into the ring. The ring is where I feel most at home. During my warm up routine I felt good and relaxed, my kicks felt nice and strong, I felt light on my feet and ready to roll.
As I walked out onto the mat and into the ring something felt different this time – instead of finding myself completely relaxed and ready like I usally do, my legs all of a sudden felt like two lead weights and my shout at the start of the fight was way off, normally I shout loud, confident and excited – to be honest I don’t even remember shouting this time. This aside I had a task infornt of me, a game plan to follow and I was still confident in that. The match started and after blindly walking into a head kick early on in the match I had to play catch up. From then on, nothing I did was working and I was getting penalised for simple and stupid errors, pretty much giving my opponent points. Keeping my cool, I played on and mid way through the 2nd round I landed a beautiful head kick from inside the clinch, however no score by the judges – I immediately signaled for my coach to stand up with her protest card and ask for a video review, as I waited from the judges to review I felt confident that they would score it, those couple of minutes feeling like a life time – unfortunately the review came back negative so my coach lost her protest card for the rest of the match. Into the 3rd round and I landed another great head kick however once again no score and with no protest card left we were out of options – I just had to keep playing, still left with a case of heavy legs, I was getting frustrated and with the clock ticking away I could see my goal of making the World Champs team in a whole new division slipping away. The fight finished and the gold was just not to be.
hurts – it really hurts and while ever it does hurt, I feel it is important to acknowledge the loses as much as it is the wins, because if it didn’t hurt it wouldn’t mean anything, and in this case it really did burn. But that’s ok, this is the sport I am in and I wouldn’t change it for the world, a lot of lessons learnt and it’s now time to go back to the drawing, reasses and keep moving forward towards the next event!! With a big year of competing and travel planned I look forward to what 2015 has instore!!
Remember folks, be gracious in defeat and stay humble in a win – I am truly grateful to be on this crazy journey with such beautiful people around me.
Commonwealth Championships 2014:
What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been, Edinburgh really is a beautiful city and I am truly fortunate to be able to travel the world seeing some amazing places, chasing my dreams in a sport that I love so much.
After success at the Oceania Championships and Australian Open back in August, I was selected to represent Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships in Edinburgh Scotland, on the 14th & 15th of November.
While Taekwondo is not a part of the main stream Commonwealth Games yet, the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships are over seen by Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and held alongside the games – held every 4 years, in the same country.
About a week before competition began the whole AUS team flew in from their respective states and met in Dubai to fly over to Glasgow Scotland together, from there we had to take bus ride down the freeway and over to Edinburgh.
Normally travelling long distances isn’t an issue for me as I’ve never really ever experienced motion sickness and can generally sleep through most travel, however this trip was an exception.
After a 14hr flight from Sydney to Dubai, on which I managed to sleep through most of, I landed in Dubai feeling relatively ok; however the 7 hr flight from Dubai to Glasgow was a whole different story – I pretty much spent the next 7hrs running to the toilet for a chuck – thank you very much motion sickness!! Lucky for me the team had some lovely supportive parents travelling with us who had some travel sickness tablets and knew that ginger ale was good for calming the stomach!!
After arriving in Edinburgh the team spent the week leading up to the event training, relaxing and doing any last minute preparation for competition. We were very fortunate enough to be staying across from the University of Edinburgh and were able to use the amazing facilities the University had for team training.
While everyone was struggling to lose the last couple of kilos / grams prior to weigh-in, I had the opposite issue – I needed to gain weight to be able to fight in the +73kg weight category that I had qualified for!! After two sandwiches and two bottles of OJ I am pleased to say that I made my weight by a whole 200grams, weighing in at a whopping 73.2kgs!!
Competition day arrived and it was game on – I had a quick look at my draw and was quietly pleased with my side of the draw, having drawn the home favourite Scotland up first.
The countries of Great Britain are known to produce some very strong and talented athletes, so going into this event I knew it was going to be tough, however also knowing how hard I had trained in preparation for this, I walked into the event feeling good and ready to go no matter who I drew first.
Going into the first fight I felt strong and in control, taking an early lead and maintaining the lead the whole match, opening up the lead as each round went on. Going into the 3rd round I had a nice lead and saw an opening as my opponent was moving back, where I successfully scored a nice face kick causing my opponent to drop to her knees, even causing a split above her eye I won 9-0 with a T.K.O.
Going into the semi-finals, once again I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match, going up against Canada’s 2013 World Championship representative. Canada is also known for being a very strong team consistently producing medals at benchmark events.
Starting off this fight I felt good and in control. I knew that I had the fitness to run my opponent around the ring for the first round and pick my points. After a few exchanges and one nice clean kick to the body, the first round finished 1-0. Heading into the second round I knew that I needed to continue to run my opponent around and then open the lead. After a few heated exchanges and no points, I was given two warnings for falling, then I saw an opening as my opponent was moving back and landed a nice spinning kick to the electronic head gear, taking the score to 4-1 my way. Moving into the final round it was just about maintaining my lead and not giving away any silly points. I took the win 4-1.
Into the finals, I faced another tough opponent from Canada. This girl was easily double my size, she was very tall and strong – I honestly felt tiny in comparison. After watching her previous fights throughout the day, I knew that we would be equally matched in fitness. I knew she was very strong and that she had legs as tall as my abdomen!! This in mind, I figured it would be much like fighting with the guys who I train with (except that they hit much harder) so I wasn’t too concerned.
The fight began and I was moving well; she attacked and I moved to the side and hit, however no score, I continued and tried again however no score, until out of nowhere she scored to the head taking the lead – I kept composed and listened to my coach, however I just couldn’t seem to connect strong enough for any points to register. The round finished and I went back to my coach. I still felt good, so I went into the second round trying a different game plan, however I struggled to get around her long legs and hit strong enough to register any points; next thing she landed another head kick which opened up her lead – by this point I was getting frustrated, however I maintained my cool and played on, for all the exchanges of kicks and well executed punches, still no score on my end. I went into the final round and gave it my all until the very end trying everything in the bag, I even managed to land a nice kick to the head which moved her head guard however being electronic head gear it wasn’t strong enough to register the points and was not direct to the front of the face so we were unable to protest. The fight finished with an unfortunate 8-0 loss and I took the silver medal.
Overall I was pretty happy with my performance, however I had mixed feelings about the score. Bittersweet to say the least, as I don’t believe the end score was a reflection of how good the fight was. Not looking at the score it was anyone’s fight – but that’s Taekwondo, you win some and you lose some.
Although the gold wasn’t to be, standing on that podium and taking home a Silver Commonwealth medal was something I had only dreamed of, and on that day I achieved a very big goal of mine – it was certainly a personal best on many levels, and I have taken away a lot of lessons. The whole trip was a simply awesome experience.
Onwards and upwards – Hard work pays off and dreams do come true!! I look forward to bettering my performance again as I now prepare for the National Championships in two weeks’ time in Adelaide.
On one last note I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to my friends, family, and team mates for all your support along the way and of course my awesome coach Di for pushing me to be the best that I can be and helping me achieve my goals & dreams – THANK YOU to my amazing sponsors: MOOTO AUS & NZ, VIRUS Action Sports Performance & Rocktape Australia for taking a chance and backing me and of course supplying me with awesome gear and last but not least VixenSports for supporting me and allowing me to share my stories while on this crazy journey!!
Wow what a week!! Two benchmark events in the space of four days!!
On Thursday the 14th of August I had the honour of representing Australia and my home club Irontiger Martial Arts at the 2014 Oceania Championships, where I won Gold in the F +73kg weight division, after taking the win against New Zealand in the finals, finishing the fight 16-1 at the end of round 2. To be standing on top of the podium with such a strong win in the finals at the Oceania Championships was a major goal achieved, especially after narrowly losing the Oceania team selection events two years ago.
On Sunday the 17th of August after two days of watching our Jnrs & Cadets fight, it was time to gear up again and get ready for the AUS Open, another major benchmark event where I once again had the pleasure of representing Australia & Irontiger in front of my home crowd.
After a convincing win over New Zealand in the quarterfinals I was through to the semifinals, where I had to fight off against world no.1 & 2012 Olympic silver medallist from France. After a close and intense battle and landing a nice kick to the head I went down to her, losing the fight by only a small margin to take home the Bronze! It was an honour to be able to go toe-2-toe with the best in the world and also an athlete that I have always looked up to – I can honestly say it was one of my best fights to date, I gave it my all and left it all out on the mat, and the crowd was absolutely electric!! Waving to the crowd as I walked off the mat I couldn’t help but have the biggest smile on my face – While I did not advance to the final round, I walked off feeling like I had won the gold, I gained priceless experience with the world’s best, leaving it all out on the mat and I can’t wait to face off against the French girl at the next major event!!
I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the following – To my friends & family: I love you dearly thank you for your never ending support, to my TKD family from around the country & around the world: you guys are awesome!! I’m so thankful to have met you all and count myself incredibly lucky to have formed such great friendships through this crazy sport of ours!! To my team mates at Irontiger Martial Arts: thank you for your never ending help & encouragement during each training session, for pushing me, especially on the days where it’s a complete struggle!! To my amazing coach Di Carn: you rock!! Thank you for believing in me & supporting me, thank you for kicking my butt on daily basis with early morning pool & sprint sessions – for pushing me to be the best that I can be, thank you for helping me achieve my goals and follow my dreams, Words cannot express how much I appreciate all that you do, finally a big thank you to my amazing sponsors : Rocktape Australia & VIRUS Action Sport Performance – Aust. for supplying me with the goods, you guys are truly awesome and I feel so privileged to be representing you!! To everyone else who has sent me messages of support thank you!! I read each and every message, to know I have such an amazing group of people behind me makes moments like this all the more special!
Wow, what an incredible week it was training at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra!
After making the National Team for 2014 earlier on in the year and being selected to represent Australia at the up and coming 2014 Oceania Taekwondo Championships I was invited to attend a week long high performance training camp at the AIS in Canberra to train at the new Combat Centre.
It was the first time a Taekwondo camp has been run at the AIS since 2007 so it was an absolute honour to be able to attend this camp with the rest of the Australian Team.
The week started off with some physical testing including the beep test (every athletes nightmare!) but despite my dislike for the beep test, I was pleasantly surprised with my final result narrowly coming 2nd to dual Olympian Carmen Marton. After all the testing we had our first kick out in the Combat Center and were fortunate enough to train alongside the 2014 Commonwealth Games Boxing team.
Over the course of the week we did numerous skill & strength tests to gauge where we were all at in comparison to other athletes in our sport and respective weight divisions and also in comparison to athletes in other sports.
Each day consisted of multiple training sessions as well as seminars on nutrition, recovery and injury management with a nice trip to the recovery center at the end of each day to finish off with an ice bath!! It’s safe to say that after our second day I had a whole new appreciation for the recovery center and developed quite a love for the ice bath, even in freezing cold Canberra weather!!
Overall it was a fantastic week with great people where I had the pleasure of training alongside some of Australia’s best Taekwondo athletes. I learnt alot about myself as an individual and as an athlete and achieved alot of personal goals that I had set myself heading into the camp. It was a great experience getting to live the life of a “full time” athlete for a week,
and gave me an insight as to what athletes in other sports get to experience on a more regular basis. I really look forward to attending future training camps at the AIS and being apart of the next generation of Taekwondo athletes to expereince all that the AIS has to offer.
With only 6 weeks to go until the Oceania Championships, I’ve since returned home with an even greater hunger to train harder, improve on my weaknesses and capitalise on my strengths, heading into the final stretch of training and preperation for this event. I can’t help but get excited for what lies ahead!!
As the old saying goes – Persistence and hard work pays off.
Over the weekend I was in Perth attending the 2014 Australian team trails for the Oceania Championships to be held later this year.
After coming back from the U.S open earlier this year, a little disappointed from bowing out in the earlier rounds, it was eyes on the prize for the Australian team selection event.
In the lead up to this event I had been training 6 days a week with 2 – 3 sessions a day as well as working a full time job and as the event was drawing closer, I felt that bit by bit everything was starting to fall into place.
Competition day came and I woke up feeling good and ready to go, I was fortunate enough to receive a good draw for this event, based on my current Australian rankings, I had a first round bye and was straight into the finals where I faced a strong opponent, who I have fought on quite a few occasions before at previous team trials & national events. She is one tough chick and an opponent who I have a lot of respect for – our history has it that we always end with a very close scoring fight with only one high scoring kick or a couple of body kicks being the difference.
It was game on and from the get go I felt strong, confident, calm and in control…within the first 30 seconds of the match I was able to corner my opponent where I threw a clean spinning kick to the head, which would give me a good 4 point lead, the kick itself landed perfectly and my coach immediately protested and asked for a video replay as it did not register on the score board, however due to where the camera was situated and where we were in comparison, the board of referees weren’t able to confirm that the kick did connect so unfortunately my coach lost her protest card for the rest of the match and there was no points scored.
I shook off the disappointment, refocused and continued the match finishing the first round in the lead after a few exchanges of kicks to the body. Going into the second round, I maintained my lead in a few more exchanges of body shots and towards the end of the second round managed to land myself another clean head kick which this time scored right away, leaving me with a bigger lead as the round finished.
As I went into the final round it was all about maintaining the lead and not giving away any silly points. I managed to stay calm and increase my lead once again opening up the point gap even more and only giving away one point due to a couple of warnings from the centre referee. The match finished with a score of 11-2 and I am now incredibly proud to say that I will be the female heavyweight representative at the 2014 Oceania Taekwondo Championships and also will be attending a week long training camp at the AIS in June.
Once again I have to thank my amazing coach & mentor Di Carn and her wonderful team, and also my awesome support crew of team mates, friends and family for your ongoing support and encouragement as I continue to chase my dreams.
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Hi guys, US open 2014: What an amazing journey it’s been already this year. My preparation in the lead up to this comp has without a doubt been my best to date. From the get go right up until today, I honestly haven’t been able to fault a thing – physically, mentally, technically – it’s been the best I’ve ever felt! It was game on and I felt strong, confident and sharp through-out all three rounds right up until the last second of the match where I gave it my all and tried everything in the bag – It just wasn’t my day. I went down to USA, just missing out on the quarter finals. All good though, it’s just the way things happen sometimes.
A huge THANK YOU to my wonderful support crew of family, friends & team mates at Irontiger and of course my amazing coach Di Carn – To know I have such a wonderful support system behind me makes this journey all the more worthwhile – Cant wait to get home and get stuck back into training in preparation for the next big one!
I am proud to announce that I will be representing Australia at the 2014 U.S open in Las Vegas along with my coach Dianne Carn. This will be my first competition for the year on the international circuit where I hope to gain some valuable ranking points in my bid to gain a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.