Hornchurch teen overcomes adversity to claim first world karate medal
PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 November 2013
Hornchurch teenager Aimee Sell produced a superb performance to clinch a bronze medal at the World Karate Federation Junior World Championships in Spain, despite almost being blinded a decade ago.
The 18-year-old jetted out to Guadalajara on the outskirts of Madrid for the competition and despite losing in the opening round, she came through the repechage round to win a medal, beating opponents from Bosnia, Vietnam, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Sell was competing in the under 21 kata category, a form of karate based on patterned movements, and she was delighted to clinch her first world medal.
She said: “It’s a great feeling especially as I’m the only one in the British team.
“I knew I’d have a tough battle against my first opponent, who’s a very good competitor.
“But my coach prepared me well and kept me focused, and I was really pleased with how I performed.”
When she was eight she reached for a glass in the sink which shattered - a shard went into her eye.
Sell was told she wouldn’t be able to carry on with karate because she might be blinded but kata is non-contact, so she was given the all clear.
And the former Emerson Park School pupil is now the most decorated junior kata competitor in England with four European and a world medal.
She said: “I’d really enjoyed the contact side of the sport so it was a real blow. But my coach John Mottram gave me some free kata lessons for a Christmas present and I was hooked.”
Olympic torchbearer Sell completed her A levels at Havering College this summer and is only the second English person ever to win a kata bronze medal at a world championships at any level.
The teenager plans to teach karate but more immediately, competitions are keeping her busy.
She has been selected for the European Junior Championships in Portugal in February and next week travels to Birmingham to try and win a spot in the senior team for the first time.
“It will be tough to qualify for the seniors, but I’ll give it my best shot,” said Sell.