This week we are showcasing students who have had incredible achievements in sport.
Already we’ve presented the story of William Dunnachie, who left it all behind here to coach in California with UK International Soccer for nine months.
Today we highlight the achievements of 17-year-old Ainsley-Ann Smith, from Galston, who is a talented taekwondo competitor and HNC Coaching and Developing Sport student. In her own words, here is her story.
I’m a two-time European bronze medallist who, for the past two years, has competed for Scotland. All in I’ve won over 50 medals during my five years of competing.
I won the two European bronze medals in Belarus, and I’ve also competed in Czech Republic, Ireland and England. I was supposed to go to Italy this year but unfortunately I was out with a back injury.
I’m hoping to go to the Netherlands at the end of November and next year I’m planning on competing in Greece and Italy.
Believe it or not, I got into taekwondo because I was bullied when I was younger. I would’ve been 8 or 9 and I was a bit on the chubby side, but it helped my confidence and also made me lose some weight.
I started out at Newmills in a small class of around eight kids. Now I’m at Newmills, Stewarton, Ardrossan, Irvine and Alloa!
I train and coach for an hour on a Wednesday, four hours on a Thursday, two each on Fridays and Saturday, and depending on whether I have a competition – I could have seven hours of taekwondo on a Sunday. On top of that I go to the gym, and once a month I have two hours of black belt training.
In hour long blocks, I’m coaching the kids and sparring with them. For the four hours on a Thursday it’s really intense fitness work – patterns, sparring and drills. When I was going to Belarus it was constant fitness, fitness, fitness.
There’s an adrenaline rush, you get a good kick from it. I also work with children with disabilities. The sport is rewarding – you’re coaching them and they’re looking up to you – but they’re winning medals at the same time.
In the future I’m hoping to take over my club and start my own classes. Right now I’m a class assistant. I also plan to continue competing and hopefully I can win gold at the European or maybe even World Championships.
Watch Ainsley-Ann sparring below.