This Karate Blog is from our latest Podcast and is part 5 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.
You got silver at the Paris Open, which is a massive tournament, Bronze at European level which is an incredible feat.Would you mind just telling us a little bit about those experiences?
Yeah, of course. So the Paris K1 that was like a really defining competition for me actually. That was my first big international back after my injury when I had been out for two years. So I think that for me it I was just so grateful just to be back competing but it kind of defined that I was back where I wanted to be, like I was back competing with the best in the world and able to get to the final and complete along with the the best in the world really because that was who was there. So for me that was a massive competition and i’m very very proud to have been there and to be in the mix and to get to the final. So for me, I think that plays a massive part in my career to date because it was just about getting back to doing what I wanted to do, doing what I love and so that was an exciting tournament so it was. I had a lot of my support there because it was in Paris, Martin was there, he was my coach, I had my sister there my mum was there to watch, so it’s nice having my little circle round me which is really good as well and a lot of my teammates were there too competing. so just everything about that if any athletes listen to this and they competed in Paris then it’s just one of the best stadiums to compete in.I just think it’s exciting it’s actually where I won my first Junior European Bronze medal when I was 14, in the same place so for me again it had good memories that hall.
I think I had five rounds to get to the final and it just felt like , I suppose every time you get to a round, you just feel more like you kind of build on your confidence as you’re going and you are more in the zone, everything starts to fly. I felt good in warm up so it felt like things were going right, and then it just clicked into place for me, the first round was good I scored a good few points and everything kind of opened up and then it was pretty much just like flowing from there. I just remember getting to the semi final and just thinking like, wow! like this is it! just go out there give it everything you have got and just do what you have been doing in training because that’s what we do we do it all for – that moment isn’t it? To get into finals to be in those medal matches. That’s what it’s all for so for me that was one of the one of the most exciting memories I have got actually of being a senior athlete.
And how did that compare to the European championship?
I suppose, it’s funny because they weren’t that far apart really but they were very different emotions I think because in Paris I had just come back so I was all fresh again, where as Europeans we’d had a really busy cycle of different competitions and again I was going into the Europeans just thinking i’ve done everything that i’ve done, like i’ve done the best I can do in training, i’ve worked hard and I just went out their and just enjoyed it, and again, I think it was five rounds to get to the final I got beat in the semi final and it was one of the closest matches i have had.
It was a really good day that day, everything like I was saying with the other one things were firing I was just loving it, really enjoyed the day and then on the final day again, it’s similar to Paris it’s the day after that you compete, I had a Bronze match there and it was just exciting. It was for everyone watching too, i’m sure they felt the same, it was quite a close match and it was just, a very emotional one actually that one because it was the Europeans. You hear of people speaking of European and World Championships, they are our biggest ones so it was for me, it was an emotional one to win but I was so proud of it.
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Could you tell us about the moment you found out you were selected for the European Games and becoming part of Team GB and your experience at the games?
Yes. So for that. To qualify for that, if you were beaten in the Europeans by the person who won Gold that was how you got to go. So I if i’m honest I wasn’t really expecting it actually, being really honest and the moment I heard I remember I was sitting beside Joe Kellaway who also got to go and we both just looked at each other and we were like oh my goodness we are going to Minsk! and that was just, to have someone else to enjoy that moment with was really nice so we were both just ecstatic, it’s something you have dreamed of, always wanting to do it when your a kid, so it was a really exciting moment and just the entire expedience from finding out, to going to the Games, to day we were given our Team GB kit, to travelling with the squad to the Games, everything like that was phenomenal and the competition was just absolutely incredible. There were really good matches the results didn’t quite come the way we wanted, but the experience is really good. I know for me it just gave me a little bit of a taste of what I wanted. To go down the Olympic path as bit it gives you a true sense of “this is what I want”, it inspires you to do more for for the next time.