WHEN Emily Blundell became the Australian Junior Champion of Sanda in May, she felt on top of the world.
But a hiking trip in the Grampians took the 16-year-old to greater heights, when her father told her she’d be flying to China for the Youth Olympics.
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Sanda – a combination of boxing, kickboxing and wrestling – is being showcased at the games for the first time with a view to becoming an official Olympic sport.
After placing fifth at the World Junior Games, held in Turkey in March, the self-described sports natural wasn’t sure she had qualified.
A phone call from Emily’s coach, Bruce Corles, erased all doubt.
“I was shocked – I couldn’t believe it,” Emily said.
The Year 10 student wasn’t much of a karate kid, but her love of Kung Fu soon introduced her to Sanda at Lifestyle Martial Arts in Dandenong.
Emily trains from Monday to Friday, when she can make it, for two to three hours at a time.
Corles, who joins Emily as part of the Australian coaching team, said it was gratifying to have a good student qualify for the games.
“Emily is hardworking, naturally-talented and cheeky,” he said.
“Just getting there is an incredible achievement.”
Emily leaves on August 19 to compete in the four-day event, which will be held between from August 21-24 in the Nanjing province.
“I’m so excited to be going to China,” Emily said.
“It’s the second time I’ll be outside of Australia and being able to see the world is heaps of fun.”
Emily is this week’s Dandenong Leader Junior Sports Star nominee.
South East & Peninsula
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