A RISING martial arts star has her eyes on further success after scooping a bronze medal at the Junior European Taekwondo Championships.

Didcot Girls’ School pupil Amelia Richardson won bronze in the team sparring event at the championships.

In December, the 16-year-old was selected to represent England by the International Taekwondo Federation’s (ITF) national team, to compete in four different disciplines at the competition.

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Although Richardson and the England team were unsuccessful in junior team patterns, individual sparring and team breaking, they came into their own in the team sparring.

Richardson said: “This is where groups of five go up and spar against different competitors of different weights and sizes.

“The first round against Italy was tied and went down to golden point. That means sudden death and the first to score wins.

“We won that match and then went on to beat Spain in the second round 11-9.

“Although we put in a hard fight against the Netherlands in the final round, they beat us due to injury, but we were happy to win bronze overall.

“It was an amazing experience and we’re proud of ourselves – especially as only three out of the five of us were technical sparrers.”

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Richardson is now gearing up for the Holland Cup next month, where she will be representing PUMA [Professional Unification of Martial Arts], followed by the ITF World Championships, to be held in Finland in September.

Her mother, Louise, said: “Her first international competition was the Holland Cup when she was 10.

“The aim is to give it a good go, she’s very self-motivating and she gives 150 per cent.

“She has a lot of respect for her coaches. For the level she’s got to now, there’s been that aspect of being strict on her diet and nutrition.

“Her self-discipline is why she’s a black belt in taekwondo.

“The World Championships are probably the biggest so far in her taekwondo career and the Holland Cup is a very good preparation exercise for that.”

On the recent European Championships, she added: “I didn’t go but my husband went, so this year was very different, but I was able to watch it on YouTube.

“To see the focus and determination on her face, to do her best, is outstanding.

“It does make you cry and I’m super proud of her.”

The talented teenager takes part in weekly training sessions with Didcot Taekwondo, run by instructors Adam and Agnes Gardner.