For Amy Truesdale, the Paralympic Games in Tokyo aren’t just an opportunity to win gold – they’re an opportunity to make history in her sport.
The Chester-born Para-Taekwondo fighter will be part of the first-ever group to compete in the sport at the Paralympic games.
“The fact I can be a history maker, I find that really special,” she tells Mancunian Matters.
Truesdale will go to the games as one of the favourites and with good reason. She is a two-time World Champion and won the European Championship in 2016. The only medal missing from the collection is a Paralympic Gold.
“Obviously, the main calling is to become Paralympic Champion. This is the only one that I’m yet to win.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic was seen as coming at the worst possible time for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Truesdale has taken it in her stride and has managed to use it to her advantage.
“I definitely think it’s been a benefit. When [the postponement] was announced, I just thought: ‘do you know what? That’s another opportunity. It’s another year to get even more practice.’”
When asked how the lockdown had affected her preparation, she said it hadn’t made much of a difference: “Obviously, the only thing it affected was my competition schedule.”
Truesdale explains that she spent the lockdown isolating with her sister, staying in contact with her coaches over Zoom and doing virtual training sessions.
“It was basically no different, just remote training. Obviously, we didn’t have all the equipment and facilities but I still managed to get my training done. It was a very positive experience.”
Truesdale lives and trains in Manchester at British Taekwondo, located on the UCFB Etihad Campus.
The chance of being a trailblazer in her sport is not something lost on Truesdale. She recalls the 2012 Paralympic games, what she describes as “the only time the Paralympics got the coverage they deserved.”
“It’s always just been a bit of an afterthought. Watching athletes like Johnny Peacock winning sticks in my mind.”
Truesdale now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of great British Paralympians like Peacock by competing at the upcoming games.
“I’ve been competing for so many years now. I’m really looking forward to it. I just think it’s a really positive and exciting time.”
When asked which athletes we should be looking out for at the games, she mentions her teammates.
“Matt Bush and Joe Lane are the two male athletes on the Para-Taekwondo Team so I would say they’re the next two big people to watch within my sport.”
For Truesdale, this has been a long time coming. The chance to finally compete in her sport on the biggest stage in the world is here. And she is not being quiet about what she expects.
“The main aim is obviously to get gold.”
Image courtesy of GB Taekwondo, with thanks.