The fight for gold!

Emily Calder fights her way to the Taekwondo World Championships for a second year.

Emily on the podium

Following an impressive application and series of past sporting successes before starting at the University of Kent, Emily Calder was welcomed to the Scholarship Scheme in September 2022.

Having registered for her course at the School of Sport & Exercise Science in September 2022, it didn’t take long for Emily to achieve further sporting success and put the Kent Sports Scholarship Scheme on the international map.

It all began when Emily was just three years old, where with the support and encouragement of her parents, she began studying mixed martial arts. Developing her self-confidence, Emily learnt self-defence skills which she has been able to showcase at national and international competitions, over the last 12 years.

Studying World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and International Taekwon-do Federation (ITF) disciplines, Emily chose to pursue ITF in the World Championships in Sardinia 2019, where she achieved World Champion status, taking home a gold medal after a tense final against Russia. In 2021, Emily went on to achieve International Champion status in World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) discipline and was selected to be a part of the Olympic pathway.

Emily standing in front of the Taekwondo World Championship's banner
Emily proudly wearing her Kent Sport Scholar kit at the World Championship in Argentina.

With Covid-19 restrictions easing in 2022, Emily continued training and competed in several competitions, including the Warrior Open and BUTL World Championships. Building on her fitness and mat time, Emily took on the IFT World Championships in Argentina in October 2022.

Suffering from a back injury just four weeks before the competition, Emily, along with her physio, worked to regain her strength and endurance ready to fight on. After a few tense days in Argentina, watching her teammates compete, it was finally Emily’s time to take to the mat and compete in ‘patterns’. With an unfortunate loss, Emily worked with her team coach to channel her energy and focussed on her next round, ‘sparing’. Emily fought four gruelling, intense fights, finally facing off with an Argentinian opponent.

“I had the whole England and Argentinian teams crowded round the mat, with the England team chanting my name after every punch and kick I threw. It was a phenomenal atmosphere, and I had reached my peak, was now time to dig deep and fight for the whole team and bring home the gold- because of the weekend experiences my mind was totally focused on this one moment and as a result I was relentless.”

Following the fight, Emily’s arm was raised into the air, in front of the whole stadium, as she won the gold medal. Feeling overwhelmed and emotional, Emily paid her respects to her opponent before celebrating with her coach, having been crowned World Champion for the second year!

Emily and her coach
Celebrating with her Coach and training Master.

“Even though it’s been a number of months since I returned from South America, I still feel exhilarated. It has been a great privilege and honour to be able to represent my country on several occasions but especially at this prestigious event and I treasure my medal and achievement with humility and pride. It is now time to focus my mind and to continue to train towards the British Championships and Europeans in 2023.”

Emily’s autumn success and 2022 honours did not end in Argentina, after topping the podium, Emily added more gold to her collection at the ITFU British Championships winning both the Patterns and Sparring categories, securing her rank as #1 in the UK for the ITFU. This concluded a fantastic year for Emily in the dojo as she looks forward to the remainder of her degree programme and the Scholarship Scheme in 2023 as well as finding and fighting new opponents.

Kent Sport wishes Emily continued success as she flies the flag for Kent and the Scholarship Scheme.

Find out more about our Martial Arts scholars and Emily, here.

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