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Emelye Looking To Pass French Test After Handed Chance to Impress

17th November 2017

Former karate prospect Emelye O’Brien is relishing her debut at this weekend’s French Open in Paris.

Teenager O’Brien joined the Manchester-based Academy earlier this year as one of 14 graduates in a new Fighting Chance Talent ID initiative.

Last month the group’s progress was assessed and the 19-year-old from Yorkshire was among those who were chosen to remain.

“I have never felt so scared at a meeting in my life,” said Emelye, one of 13 athletes competing in the French capital tomorrow. (Saturday) “I couldn’t get my words out.”

“It was the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. So, it was the best feeling ever when Gary Hall (GB Performance Director) told me I had been successful.”

“I have more adapting to do because I am nowhere near the finished article,” said Emelye who joins Londoner Isobella McNeish fighting in the -57kg division.

“But I feel like I have progressed since moving over from a different sport.”

Emelye, a former European karate gold medallist, took up martial arts at the age of four. “I was really shy as a kid, even more than I am now,” laughed Emelye.

“My dad, Shaun, took me because he was into karate. I remember I used to go and cling to his leg.”

The French Open A Class tournament is her biggest event since joining the Academy.

“The aim now is to build up my rankings points and start being able to medal. I don’t want it to take too long.”

Also looking to end her competitive year on a high note is Jade Slavin in the +73kg division.

“The London Grand Prix gave me a lot of confidence as I feel like I performed really well,” said the County Durham fighter.

“This year the goal was to make it into the Grand Prix series and I’ve done that so hopefully next year I can make the final.

“I’ve slowly climbed my way into the top 32 and now I’m considered ‘up there’ with the best is a great feeling.”




Saturday, (November 18)

-58kg: Hassan Haider (Falkirk), Luke Jones (Flint)

-68kg: Bradly Sinden (Doncaster)

-74kg: Jacob Barnett (Bradford), Christian McNeish (Plaistow)

-80kg: Damon Sansum (Elgin)

+87kg: Jonathan Bangura (Forest Gate), Mahama Cho (Stockwell), Jack Spall (Attleborough)


-49kg: Taylor Goodall (Knowsley)

-57kg: Isobella McNeish (Plaistow), Emelye O’Brien (Bradford),

+73kg: Jade Slavin (Consett)

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