A 22-year-old Taekwondo champion who only took up the sport four years ago has set her sights on competing at the 2020 Olympics.
Talented Pooja Vadhva started competing in 2014 and has already been crowned British National Champion.
In her first year of competing she bagged six medals as well representing England at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
In the New Year she is also hoping that North West businesses will look to support her efforts through sponsorship as the sport requires her to travel a lot to tournaments across the country.
Pooja hails from Liverpool, went to school and college in Preston but is presently studying for a Masters degree in Physics at Manchester University.
She told us: “At a recent international competition I lost to the world champion in the last 10 seconds of the game.
“He told me that I held my own and a few areas were highlighted on what to improve upon.
“I am determined now more than ever to continue to fight internationally and to win a gold medal as my coaches have also told me that the 2020 Olympics is realistic.”
Pooja has an intense fitness and training regime. Her university has allowed her to split her final year into two years to enable her to train more.
“I started with an hour twice a week and gradually increased it so that in the last six months I am now training 8 to 9 times a week and 2 hours per session. My training includes strength and conditioning, taekwondo and sparring.”
She had some valuable advice for other young people thinking of taking up the sport, “It’s a fun sport, it’s hard work, you need to be fit and flexible, it’s explosive, hard-hitting and there is tight control on meeting and maintaining your weight, but you get a buzz out of landing a head shot and it’s an amazing feeling when you are holding that gold medal.”
“If you want to get into the sport go along to your local taekwondo club and give it a try; Manchester is a great place to do it, we have one of the top clubs in the country - Manchester Aces!”
She is also looking for North West businesses to support her in her quest,
“As I have started going internationally and that is an expensive affair and every international fight due to flight and accommodation and then there are registration costs.
“To achieve my goal I need to compete at least 6 to 7 times a year to gain enough ranking points and I am really struggling to support myself and keeping my dream alive.
“I will appreciate any help which can be offered.”
Any North West business who can support Pooja can e-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org