Amy Connell – European Karate Bronze Medalist, on dealing with adversity

This Karate Blog is from our latest Podcast and is part 3 of 6

Amy Connell is one of Britain’s top fighters. She is a WKF European Bronze Medalist in Kumite, and represented Team GB at the European Games in Minsk. She now has her sights set on Tokyo 2021.

Were you successful straight away is a competitor or did it take time and you kind of hit a tipping point?

I think this is a interesting question, I personally openly speak about it, I was quite successful when I was younger my first Europeans that I went to I came home with a Bronze medal so when you are 14 years old you kind of think that just happens all the time you’ve done well on your first one, so I was quite lucky I did quite well at a younger age. I had another European bronze medal at Juniors as well, so I was quite used to doing well at that level and I it was really really good, I was kind of building things up and I actually got a really bad injury, maybe five years ago now, four years ago and that was the biggest kind of tipping point in my career because I was used to doing quite well I wasn’t really appreciative as much of what I had and then that really bad injury knocked me back a lot I was out for about two years. Then I came back and everything kind of changed from there that’s when I just fell back in love with my Sport and I was just really grateful that I could get back to competing. 

So was that when you had nine fractures in your legs? Two plaster cast’s one on each leg? How did you deal with that mentally? I read that lot of doctors were saying you’re probably not going to compete again, to come back from that is quite impressive, so how did that occur?

Looking back, it’s a strange time to look back on but at the time it was mentally very tough to overcome. At the time like you were saying a lot of doctors were saying I probably wouldn’t be able to come back because our sport has very repetitive movement, jumping up and down.

But I think like most athletes, you always have in the back of your mind that you just don’t want to give up on it. You always think there’s nothing to lose if I try my best, do all my rehabilitation and if we still don’t make it, we don’t make it, but at least we’ve done absolutely everything to get back and that’s literally what I did. I just switched my focus from feeling sorry for myself at first, to really putting it towards being positive and thinking about taking little baby steps to get better and to get back to the recovery and it took a long time, and it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t plain sailing but it was 100% worth it because when I got back to completing at the top level I appreciated it so much more. I just love what I do! I’m just so grateful that I actually got back and do that now.

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Do you feel that helped you as a competitor, overcoming that hardship? Giving you a renewed focus?

Yeah, definitely 100%. I think if you speak to any athlete that’s been through something like that it makes them so much stronger. Mentally stronger as well as everything else, but you have struggled so much that you came back and you know that when you put in that hard work you just want to keep going with it. So I would say it’s made me a much more grateful athlete and an excited athlete as well, I love what I do and I don’t take it for granted so I think that’s a big thing.

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