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Hole in the heart Romford judo girl picked for England squad

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 December 2016

Amy Bundy, right, wins bronze at the 2016 Pre-Cadet British Judo Championships in Sheffield. Photo: Mike Varey.

Amy Bundy, right, wins bronze at the 2016 Pre-Cadet British Judo Championships in Sheffield. Photo: Mike Varey.

© mike varey 2016

A girl who was born with a hole in her heart has beaten the odds to become a martial arts champion.

Amy pictured on the day of her life-saving operation, at six months old. Picture: Bundy family.Amy pictured on the day of her life-saving operation, at six months old. Picture: Bundy family.

As a baby of six months, Amy Bundy underwent eight hours of surgery to receive an artificial valve and larger arteries for her tiny heart.

Miraculously, 12 years later she has been selected to represent England after winning bronze at the 2016 Pre-Cadet British Judo Championships on Saturday.

The Romford athlete is still in shock from her success in Sheffield.

“I can’t believe it – I could be really ill but I’m here doing judo and I’m in a squad and everything – it’s unbelievable,” said the humble Year 8 student, who attends Marshalls Park School in Pettits Lane.

Amy Bundy (right) with her family at Disneyland in October 2016.Amy Bundy (right) with her family at Disneyland in October 2016.

The once frail youngster will now train monthly as one of the youngest selected in the 12 to 14-year-old England squad for her weight category.

“I had to have a couple of fights and I won some and lost a couple as well – you win some, you lose some,” added the philosophical fighter.

“My favourite move is where you get your opponent on your back and throw them over. That’s one of the moves that helped me do well.”

The gutsy girl has not always been so strong. She was diagnosed at birth with low oxygen levels in her blood – also known as Tetralogy of Fallot disease – as well as major aortopulmonary collateral arteries and underwent further surgery five years ago to replace the artificial valve in her heart with a bigger one.

Dad Steve Bundy, himself a black belt in judo, is one of Amy’s coaches at Toshi Kazoku Judokwai judo club at Barking Abbey School.

“It’s amazing what she’s been through,” said Steve, who lives with his wife Nicole, 41, and their three daughters in Dee Way, Rise Park.

“To be doing a physical sport such as this in the first place is amazing, let alone going on to have such a success as she’s just had. It’s phenomenal.”

The City worker said it was important that Amy didn’t feel she was any different to other people.

“We never made a big thing about it, we treated her as any other kid,” he said. “We certainly haven’t wrapped her in cotton wool. She’s a bit of a tomboy and is very active.”

The 43-year-old has practised judo his entire life. Though thrilled his daughter is following in his footsteps, he admits the beginnings were tough.

“It was a scary time, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Steve added. “The surgery she had in Harley Street was almost groundbreaking.

“I keep a very close eye on her – it’s in the back of your mind all the time. It’s a massive achievement for anyone, let alone Amy – I’m very, very proud.”

Fellow coach Turan Kiani has been training Amy for the past three years.

“She’s flexible like a gymnast – very quick, extremely fast,” explained the 33-year-old.

“She knuckles down, works her hardest, puts 100 per cent into everything she does.

“It’s absolutely incredible what she’s done. It’s one of the greatest things that anyone from our club has achieved.”


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