The meteoric rise by 11-year-old Hucknall schoolgirl Tahya Fells in the sport of taekwondo has reached a new pinnacle.
For Tahya has been chosen to represent Britain at the European Championships in Serbia at the end of this month.
It’s just the latest feather in the cap for a youngster who has gone from being a kid with a kick at Hucknall’s renowned Kang Han martial arts academy to a national champion and globetrotting revelation.
Now talented Tahya and her proud family are hoping to catch the eye of local businesses who might want to help her remarkable progress by pumping in sponsorship.
“Everything has to be self-funded -- and it’s costing us an absolute fortune!” said mum Tracey (38) from the family home in Hucknall.
“To get picked, you have to travel abroad to a certain number of select events. But it’s so expensive. We’ve just got back from an open tournament in Germany, which cost us £1,200. We’re off to Northern Ireland in a couple of weeks’ time, and then to Serbia, which will cost about £1,000.”
Tracey and dad Paul (42) are in no doubt that it is all worth it. Tahya is already in the Team GB development squad, she already has a black belt (2nd dan) and she has already been earmarked as a possible competitor at future Olympic Games.
But fundraising is becoming as important as Tahya’s own dedication and determination, which is why a family fun day to generate much-needed cash for her travels has been organised for this Sunday.
The event is being held in conjunction with Hucknall Sports youth football club at the Goosedale Sports Complex in Bestwood Village from 10 am to 2 pm, Attractions will include a mini-football tournament, beat-the-goalie and hardest-shot competitions, bouncy castles, stalls, raffle, tombola, refreshments and much more.
Businesses who might want to add to the pot are asked to ring Tracey on 07480 269451 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
They will meet a girl showing admirable focus and maturity for her age. A girl who trains six days a week with Kang Han, under the expert supervision of grand master Ian Lennox, now an 8th dan. And one who, last year, became the first taekwondo player to hold national titles in both disciplines of the sport -- kyrougi, which is full-contact sparring, and poomsae, which is a fixed series of movements.
This year, she had to move up from peewee class to the under-14s age-group for the national championships, held at Crawley in March. But she still bagged bronze in poomsae, plus a gold medal in the team event and joint gold in the pairs. She was unable to compete in the kyrougi after breaking her wrist in a freak accident in the kitchen at home where she fell over pet puppy, Snoopy!
Thankfully, Snoopy kept out of the way as Tahya prepared for her latest tourney in Germany. She just missed out on a place in the final, but she still impressed with her performance against older rivals in a huge, competitive field.
“It was a good experience,” said Tracey. “It gave the selectors a chance to see how she fared in a big competition.”
Now it’s all systems go for Serbia. Mum, dad and little eight-year-old sister Jacee-Gem (who, by the way, is also on her way to a black belt!) have their flights booked. Tahya might be the youngest taekwondo player there, but she is still aiming to conquer Europe!