Meet Havering torchbearer Karate kid Aimee Sell
An inspirational Hornchurch teen who overcame a terrible eye injury to continue her sporting passion, has been named lead Havering torchbearer.
Aimee Sell, 16, has been a Karate whizz since the age of six.
But her world came crashing down when she was just eight-years-old.
“I was reaching for a glass when it smashed in the sink,” she said. “A piece of glass went into my eye - I remember there was blood everywhere and I was really scared.
“Then I was told I would never do Karate again.”
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But the Havering Sixth Form College student proved she was more than just a fighter on the Karate mat.
“I underwent six operations in 18 months and I have a false lens,” she said. “I was told not to take part in contact side, because I could be blinded, but I do kata [pattern forms]”.
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Aimee was graded black belt at 12-years-old, and is now one of the most prolific Karate competitors England has produced, having being crowned five-times English and four times British individual National Champion.
She has also represented England at a World and two European Championships.
In February last year, Aimee became the first English female to reach a European Kata final in more than 25 years - and only the second ever woman to do so since the mid 80s.
She’s also the first female ever to represent England and medal at two consecutive Junior European Kata events.
Aimee is one of 33 torch bearers, from home and abroad, who will carry the Olympic flame through the borough on July 22.
She said: “I feel very lucky and privileged. It’s the closest I’ll get to taking part in the Olympics.”
Mum Deborah, 43, added: “I’m so proud of what Aimee’s achieved. She’s proof that you can do what you want if you put your mind to it.”