Truesdale sets sights on Tokyo 2020 after World Championship glory
Ask any athlete what it’s like to compete on home soil and you’ll get the same reaction: a huge grin and an exclamation of some of the best moments of their career.
Yet winning in front of a British crowd takes things to a whole new level, and Amy Truesdale can attest to that.
Last week saw the 28-year-old win World Para Taekwondo Championship gold at London’s Copper Box Arena, reclaiming her K44 +58kg title three years after sealing gold by default.
On that occasion, back in 2014, Truesdale actually lost in the final, but her opponent was found to be competing in the wrong category and the Brit was subsequently upgraded to gold.
But victory tasted all the more sweeter this time around – a special occasion she wouldn’t have wanted to take place anywhere else in the world.
“I think it’s just about sunk in. I was quite shocked at first,” she said.
“I was quietly confident that I could win. We did a lot more preparation this time around, I’ve got a new coach who I have a very good relationship with. That definitely helped me going into the competition.
“Though I became world champion in 2014, this is the first time I have competed at a World Championships and defeated all of my opponents.
“It feels so special, and with it being a home crowd, that made it even more so.
“It was quite surreal because I’m not used to it. It was the first time I have competed with such big home support.
“It’s really good for the rest of the team to get the exposure too because they deserve it.”
"I met a lot of kids on the day who have got the same sort of disability as myself, so I was speaking to them about the sport and I really think it got out to a lot of people." Amy Truesdale
The next three years will undoubtedly be the most important of Truesdale’s career with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games looming on the horizon.
Para taekwondo will make its Paralympic debut in Japan, and with two world titles already under her belt, Truesdale is eager for a tilt at the biggest crown of all.
But in the meantime, she’s keen to see more take to the mat to prove that taekwondo really is a sport for all.
“I think having the Championships on home soil and with it being televised, I think it will have done a lot of good for para taekwondo,” she said.
“I met a lot of kids on the day who have got the same sort of disability as myself, so I was speaking to them about the sport and I really think it got out to a lot of people.
“Seeing events like the World Championships proves that anything is possible and hopefully it will encourage more to get involved.
“It’s super exciting that para taekwondo will be at Tokyo 2020. I think it will come around very quickly.
“Over the next couple of years, I need to keep working hard and keep accumulating ranking points so that I can qualify.
“It would be absolutely amazing to compete at a Paralympic Games. I’d be one of the first people to compete in the sport at that level and that would be incredibly special.”
Picture: GB Taekwondo