Great Britain's Youngest Ever Senior Medallist
Despite her success as a Junior Athlete, Aaliyah Powell at the age of only 16 confounded the World of Taekwondo by taking the bronze medal at the Senior World Championships in Manchester. Aaliyah became Great Britain's youngest ever Senior medallist and did so in style.
Initially disappointed by the seeming lack of interest by GB Taekwondo as a -49kg Female Athlete possibly for Tokyo 2020, Aaliyah submitted her candidacy for the -53kg spot on the GB team for the World Championships. With less than 8 weeks to go before the World Championships, Aaliyah received the news, out of the blue she had been selected for Manchester 2019.
There were some major challenges to overcome. Aaliyah had a hamstring injury she picked up from the GB Development Camp in Korea. She also had a chest infection that prevented her from training. Finally she was in the middle of her GCSE Examinations!
Examinations Thursday, Weigh in Friday, competition Saturday, Medal presentation and media interviews Sunday and back to school Monday for more exams.
Aaliyah had nothing to prove and yet when she made her debut on Number 1 Court - the raised platform in the Manchester Evening News Arena she shocked the World with cool composed performances that she had no right to deliver in her first ever Senior competition.
Only the World Number 1 Seed Tatiana Kudashova could stop Aaliyah from making the final. It proved just one fight too many on the day but the Match was televised on the BBC Red button, Aaliyah's name was lit up on a giant screen and history was made.
Aaliyah became Quest Taekwondo's first Senior World Championship team member since 1999 when Stan Hnatysyzn represented GB at -78kg in Canada. The creation of the World Class Programme has meant almost all Senior National Team athletes have come from the GB Academy for the last 15-20 years making Aaliyah's achievement even more impressive.
GB had 15 athletes at the World Championships, which saw GB's first ever Senior Male (able bodied) World Champions Bradley Sinden and Gold medals also for Jade Jones and Bianca Walkden.