Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BOOTH UP FOR FIGHT TO BOOK PLACE AT RIO... ; Taekwondo Ace Rachelle Plans to Turn Hobby into Gold Medal

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

BOOTH UP FOR FIGHT TO BOOK PLACE AT RIO... ; Taekwondo Ace Rachelle Plans to Turn Hobby into Gold Medal

Article excerpt

Road to Rio 2016 Trevor Baxter sport@men-news.co.uk MENSPORTS @ RACHELLE Booth has enjoyed some notable high spots in her brief career as a member of the Great Britain Taekwondo Academy in Manchester.

Striking Commonwealth gold last year was pretty special. But she topped it in May by winning bronze on her World Championship debut in Russia.

But until the Wigan teenager fulfils her ambition to become an Olympian, then very little surpasses another breakthrough moment.

"I started taekwondo with my younger brother Rob," said 19-year- old Booth in an exclusive interview for M.E.N. Sport in association with the National Lottery. "I was seven and he was six.

"Until I got older I would enter the boys' competitions. So, imagine how pleased I was when, at one tournament, I beat him. He didn't speak to me for weeks!

"But as he got taller he used to beat me up so I didn't wind him up about it so much!" There were no medals for that famous victory but now, with just under a year to go to Rio 2016, the Standish- raised youngster can begin to dream about stepping onto the sport's biggest stage.

Not even the formidable presence of Beswick-based team-mate Jade Jones in her weight category dampens Booth's excitement for the challenges ahead.

Booth emerged from the tough UK Sport driven, 'Fighting Chance, Battle 4 Brazil' initiative to become a full-time athlete.

More than 500 hopefuls applied. After six months scrutiny from GB Taekwondo bosses, she was one of 15 to make the grade and join the World Class Performance programme at Ten Acres Lane.

It took her to a new level of training and competition while also easing the financial burden on parents, Greg and Sue, because of access to National Lottery funding.

"Taekwondo all started as a hobby at a parish hall in Standish, mainly just to learn some self defence," explained Booth. "I never knew then I could make something out of it.

"Mum and dad were always telling me I was good but that was more to give me confidence than anything else.

"But then dad started to coach me and when that happens you know he must have thought I was pretty decent. 'Coach Dad' I called him. …

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