Jordyn Smith sees her role model every day. It spurs her on, it develops her sport, and it empowers her as a young female athlete to reach the top of her game.
Martial artist Jordyn moved away from Carronshore to Manchester in 18 months ago to pursue her Taekwondo dream alongside the sport’s elite in the UK – a talent pool topped by double Olympic and World Champion Jade Jones.
“She’s an inspiration to us all and she shows that girls can do martial arts.
“It’s not a really girly sport you know – kicking people in the face – but having someone like her at the top of her game and the top of the sport it makes you think as a young girl ‘well if she can do it, then I can too’ - why not?”
‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ say the football shirts of Scotland’s domestic football 13-in-a-row league champions Glasgow City, but that’s changing.
In a year that has seen huge successes in the Women’s World Cup, Ashes and domestic and international football, women’s sport has seen a huge upturn in focus throughout 2019.
The benefits are yet to be truly felt, but Jordyn is a prime example of having a female role model in focus and in plain sight to aspire to, and she’s hoping to become one herself too – and continue to be for little sister Teigan.
“Training with Jade is really special because she has done so much in the sport. and sharing an environment that she is in it pushes you a lot harder when you see her training beside you, training hard.
“It inspires you to be the best because she is the best - you do what she does basically trying to be like her.
“Having someone there like Jade and someone who can look up to is important because when training at heart she’s obviously been through that hard spell and reached where she is now as a double Olympic champion and world champion and European champion.
“We cross paths often, she helps me training a lot and gives me feedback; if Jade’s giving me feedback then it’s a big thing because she’s such a big figure in British TKD.”
So too could diminutive Jordyn be a big player in years to come. Having – now famously thanks to this newspaper and Kaye Adams Radio Scotland programme two years ago – started the sport to avoid being picked on for her ginger hair she’s a full-time GB athlete and on the fringes of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad, though Paris 2024 is more realistic.
A local success story, she is a role model to be held up for hard work and dedication in Taekwondo and will host a seminar at her hometown club Central Academy next month on one of her trips home.
Even closer to home she’s a role model for fellow Team GB TKD athlete Teigan, her little sister, who trains once a month in Manchester with the cadet squad.
“Teigan says I’m her role model and we joke about it. I hope I am a role model to her and she looks up to me. I hope so.
“She says she likes watching me train and hopefully she can carry on and do well herself. She’s up and coming and one to look out for too.
“I suppose you can look at it as I’m down training alongside Jade and following her as a role model and Teigan’s hopefully doing the same with me. It’s nice to think of it that way because it’s important to have role models.”
“She is already one for her sister, but fast becoming one for more and more youngsters following her footsteps into the Carronshore community hall where she began as a five-year-oldinitially cowed by the shrieks of martials arts training.
“I usually pop in to Central, my club, at weekends when I’m home and try to speak to the little kids.
“I’m hosting a seminar at the end of November and a few other clubs are coming. It’s stressful but I can do it. I’ll just need to be confident and go for it.”