Rising Taekwondo Star Asia Bailey Nominated For BBC Young Sports Personality Of The Year

Asia Bailey (14) has had an incredible run of success this year which started at the WTF Junior World Championships in Egypt where she took bronze, becoming the first-ever Scottish Taekwondo player to achieve a podium finish and the youngest-ever British player to medal at a world championships since they were introduced back in 1973.

This was followed by a stunning hat-trick of gold medal-winning performances – beating the world’s best at the Dutch Open, the British National Championships and most recently at November’s Croatian Open.

She next competes at the prestigious French Open in December, where she aims to end the year on a high, having only lost one competitive fight in 2012.

Modest and unassuming, Asia said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be nominated for this prestigious award. I hope my success can encourage more girls to become involved in the sport.”

Asia’s rise in Taekwondo has been meteoric considering she’s only fourteen and only took up intense training last year when she joined Scotland’s High Performance Development Programme.  Her stunning progress has prompted speculation that she could be in the GB Taekwondo team at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she’d follow in the footsteps of her heroes Jade Jones and Sarah Stevenson.

Asia’s now nervously waiting to hear if she has been shortlisted for the award which in the past has been won by people such as Andy Murray, Ellie Simmonds, Wayne Rooney and Tom Daley.

A panel of judges, including BBC television presenters John Inverdale, Ore Oduba and Helen Skelton, will finalise the shortlist of three from the nominations received.  The winner will be announced at the “live” BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 show at Excel London on 16 December.

Asia, a fourth year pupil at Larbert High School, near Falkirk, was nominated by Dean Leak, the Development Manager for GB Taekwondo. In his nomination, he says:

“Asia trains for at least one hour every morning before school and a further two hours every evening. Considering she has missed a lot of school days due to attending training camps and competing abroad, she has performed exceptionally well academically. She passed all eight of her Standard Grades at Credit level, with seven 1s and one 2, and is now studying for five Highers and has been given target grades of five As.”

He adds: “She now helps coach younger students, passing on her experiences with great enthusiasm. She often takes the lead in sessions and demonstrates confidence way beyond her years. And at school she volunteered for and is now undertaking a Sports Leader Award Level 1 course.”

Asia trains with the national junior talent squad throughout the year at the GB Olympic training base in Manchester and attended a two-week training camp in Korea in June.

Nikos Jakubiak, Scotland’s Performance Coach, said: “Asia’s story is inspiring. She has a high work ethic and a genuine passion for taekwondo. I have seen how quickly she has progressed in the sport over the past year and I can see the tremendous potential she has.”

Asia is a member of Carronshore based Central Taekwondo Academy which is run by her proud parents David and Angie Bailey. Angie said: “We are bursting with pride for Asia and she really deserves her success. She works very hard, is incredibly modest about her achievements and totally dedicated to her training.”

Chief Instructor David, a seventh Dan black belt, said: “We’ve been very busy this year promoting Olympic Taekwondo in primary schools. We hope Asia’s fantastic achievements will help inspire other youngsters to get involved and find out more about Olympic Taekwondo.”