After overcoming adversity TEam GB karate’s Tokyo Olympic hopeful Amy Connell has expertise for Falkirk high school pupils

Olympic karate hopeful Amy Connell takes up new role in the classroom

Friday, 28th February 2020, 11:25 pm

Six years ago, Amy Connell couldn’t have been further from competing in the Olympics.

She’d just received the devastating news that her competitive sport days were over. And back then, her chosen sport - karate - wasn’t even included as an event in the Olympic Games.

Fast forward some 2000 days and she has overcome adversity to not only return to competitive karate, she’s excelled and broken records to put her on the verge of Olympic glory in Japan later this year.

Scotland and Team GB athlete Amy Connell. Karate champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful, sponsored by ARD Consulting. Amy was hosting a try Karate session with pupils and is now a school sports ambassador at Falkirk High School. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Scotland and Team GB athlete Amy Connell. Karate champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful, sponsored by ARD Consulting. Amy was hosting a try Karate session with pupils and is now a school sports ambassador at Falkirk High School. Picture: Michael Gillen.

And life experience like that is just why Connell is an ideal role model for pupils at Falkirk High School where she has taken up an ambassadorial role, aided by sponsors A.R.D. Consultancy in Melville Street.

The partnership will also see pupils benefit from dance lessons from Scottish cheerleading squad The Rockettes, as well as several visits and masterclasses from Amy before she heads off to Tokyo.

She said: “It’s an honour to be able to take on the role of school ambassador for Falkirk High and at the same time, share my experiences with the next generation of athletes. I am looking forward to working with all the staff and students at the school and hopefully they can take some inspiration from my personal journey.

“I would like to thank A.R.D. Consultancy for their continued support and for giving me this unique opportunity to work with Falkirk High School.”

Scotland and Team GB athlete Amy Connell. Karate champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful, sponsored by ARD Consulting. Amy was hosting a try Karate session with pupils and is now a school sports ambassador at Falkirk High School. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Six years ago, Amy developed nine stress fractures in each leg, and was effectively told that her competitive karate days were over. Miraculously, Amy overcame all her struggles and now she has her sights firmly set on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the first time karate will be included.

She does so on the back of making history as Scotland’s first karate athlete to be selected to Team GB for a major multi-sport event as well as winning her first major championship medal when she took bronze at the European Championships.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the 25-year-old headed to Austria for the Premier League event, which will count towards her selection hopes for Tokyo.

Next month, she has dates in Azerbaijan and Morrocco before the Tokyo 2020 qualification event itself in Paris in May.

Scotland and Team GB athlete Amy Connell. Karate champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful, sponsored by ARD Consulting. Amy was hosting a try Karate session with pupils and is now a school sports ambassador at Falkirk High School. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Before all that though she took time out from training to host a masterclass for S4, S5 and S6 pupils earlier this month. As well as sharing her sporting experiences with students she will be integrating her skills and knowledge covering a number of curriculum topics, including mental health, nutrition and resilience.

Jen McPherson, depute head teacher at the school, said; “Falkirk High School is delighted to be working with professional athlete Amy Connell.  In between training, competition and travelling Amy is sharing valuable skills and experiences with different groups of pupils within our school.  So far, she has provided taster karate sessions, spoken to pupils about nutrition and the mental aspects of sport as well as taking a mascot with her to all international competitions so that our pupils can track where she is in the world!  The sessions she has delivered have allowed our pupils to think about commitment, determination and resilience and how they can develop these essential skills in their own endeavours.”

Andrew Dawkins, director of the financial experts based in Melville Street who specialise in independent advice on pensions, mortgages and investment, added: “We are continually looking at ways that we can support the local community as well as maximising our association with current partners. The past year has seen us elevate our involvement within the community, predominately within the education sector. After speaking to Falkirk High staff and getting more of an understanding of what they were about and what their future ambitions were, making the connection with Amy seemed obvious.

“Amy has been incredible since we have been sponsoring her and she is well on her way to representing Great Britain in Karate at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Her personal story is truly inspirational, and it would be an injustice if Amy did not have an opportunity to share her experiences and, in turn, inspire the next generation of athletes.”

Scotland and Team GB athlete Amy Connell. Karate champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful, sponsored by ARD Consulting. Amy was hosting a try Karate session with pupils and is now a school sports ambassador at Falkirk High School. Picture: Michael Gillen.