A HELENSBURGH teen is on her way to becoming part of the Great Britain Olympic Taekwondo team after taking part in a Team GB camp in Manchester.

Kirsten Barrett, 19, has been practicing Taekwondo since she was eight-years-old, and took part in the fully Covid-19 compliant Olympic camp at the Great Britain Taekwondo facilities in Manchester, meeting other female athletes vying for the special opportunity to compete for their country.

The former Hermitage Academy pupil is part of the local Peak Performance club, run by International Taekwondo Federation instructor and examiner Steven McLaren, who joined Kirsten on her trip.

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Describing the camp, Kirsten, who now studies sport at Stirling University, told the Advertiser: “It was amazing. I got to meet a dozen other enthusiastic high-level female taekwondo athletes who were also trying out for the same opportunity.

“It was great to get back onto the mat and spar against another human being rather than a punch bag that doesn't move out of the way or fight back.

“The Olympic GB taekwondo team has a lot of successful high-level female athletes that I think inspire lots of younger athletes, myself included.

“I think it would be an amazing opportunity to train and compete alongside them. It provides one of the biggest sporting platforms to compete on in the whole world, and I would never consider myself someone who would shy away from a challenge.”

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Kirsten insists that the “burning passion” she has for taekwondo has never gone away and has been there since she was a child.

“My brothers went to a taekwondo class at Steven McLaren Martial Arts,” Kirsten said, “but I watched at the back of the class with my parents, copying every now and again.

“The next week I started my very first class. I remember I showed up in my horse-riding jodhpurs and a T-shirt - I was at the height of fashion - but I stood in the front row and didn’t look back.”

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