After Taking Bronze in the under 14’s category during the 2017 European Championships, Chloe Garner has again been selected to represent England in the under 14’s category, and this time she is going for GOLD. Although she has been selected to represent her country, Chloe has to find the funding for the travel, full board accommodation and specific equipment herself. We caught up with her to discuss her year ahead in the hope that Female First readers will help her to fulfil her dreams.

Chloe Garner

Chloe Garner

What drew you to Taekwondo at such a young age?

Initially to keep fit and active.

You have achieved so much in your few years, so where do you think your determination and passion comes from?

My mum is a very determined person with lots of drive and passion. Now I am older, the competitors at the international competitions such as the world championships inspire me, knowing at such a young age this is certainly achievable in the not so distant future.  

What has been your most memorable event so far?

Securing Bronze at the European championships 2017, beating Bulgaria to get into the semi-finals. Bulgaria competitors are extremely hard to beat, and I was only 12 years old competing against competitors nearly 2 years older than me.

The events have taken you far and wide, so where has been your favourite place to visit and why?

I can’t really say- we don’t get to see the sites really, especially due to my age, we can’t wonder around, so we either train or are within a sports stadium supporting the other team members. If the opportunity came around I would love to go and visit Korea- the home of Taekwondo.

You sustained an injury in 2017, so tell us about finding the strength and motivation to carry on after this setback.

It was really hard- I’ve had sprains and twists that have enabled me to take a week out or simply take it easy but this time it was different. As I was so close to braking my ankle, I had to take a good few months out, luckily part of that period was Christmas. My mum and coach pushed me back by taking it easy, even if my ankle was strapped and not strong. My coach was brilliant putting up with my attitude and made sure I got back into training mentally. My coach has worked closely with me getting my confidence back.    

What advice do you have for other young people who are looking to take up Taekwondo?

It’s excellent for fitness. It ensures you obtain self-control and discipline. But don’t give up- many young people get put off by learning the basics, that’s the most important aspect.        

How did it feel when you found out you would be representing England in the under 14s category and how did you celebrate?

I didn’t really celebrate- that will come after the European championships. Upon official selection it’s all about extra training, hard work, eating right and focusing. After doing so well last year, I’m determined to secure another medal and dedicate it to my nan who’s recently passed away.  

How important is it to have the support of your family while you are training and competing?

Extremely. I couldn’t do it without my mum who gives up most of her spare time to drive me all over the country at silly o’clock in the morning.

You must fund all of your travel, accommodation, food and specialist equipment yourself so how much of a challenge is it to keep on top of raising these funds?

Extremely hard. I’m too young to get a job and there is no government funding, so I try to do different fundraising events and offer 1&1 training in which parents can choose to donate. But it can be difficult to arrange due to school. Mum works hard to make sure I can travel around the UK but now with the international events, she cannot afford to do it on her own.  

What is next for you?

Moving into the junior ranks (14-17 age group) in 2019, I will be able to compete in team events and not only in the European championships but also the World championships. I want to obtain a world championship medal before I move into the senior ranks (18 years old).

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