Chipping Sodbury Tang Soo Do club member Gemma Rallinson hopes to find funds for European Championships in Munich
A TALENTED young martial artist from Chipping Sodbury fears she won’t be able to compete at the European Tang Soo Do Championships due to a lack of funds.
Gemma Rallinson, 16, was crowned national champion last September but is seeking sponsorship to allow her to travel to Munich in June.
The Chipping Sodbury Tang Soo Do club member needs about £450 to go towards travelling costs, accommodation, equipment and the entry fee.
Rallinson said she was shaking with happiness after winning three gold medals and becoming colour belt grand champion at the national championships in Cardiff, and it would be a difficult blow to take if she was unable to compete against the best in Europe.
“It would be really hard. I really want to go,” said Rallinson, who is hoping to fight in the junior black belt apprentice section.
“When you go to the nationals you can get into the European. I feel like I did so well and I’m at my prime so I would regret it.”
Rallinson started Tang Soo Do – a Korean martial art with roots in karate – four years ago when she was encouraged to join in while watching her sister train.
“The instructor told me to do it with jeans on and I’ve loved it ever since,” she said.
“I would like to carry it on and I’d love to go to the World Championships in America in 2014.”
Megan Fletcher, who teaches Rallinson at Chipping Sodbury School, is urging the public to help the youngster.
She is the national judo champion at -70kg and receives national lottery funding to help her reach the Olympics, but hasn’t always received so much support and can empathise with Rallinson’s situation.
“I am lucky that I am on national lottery funding,” said Fletcher.
“Before that I had to pay for everything myself. My mum and dad own their own business so I was lucky in the sense that I had backing from my parents but it’s not easy.
“I see so many people who have great talent not being able to achieve their full potential due to funding problems. “Speaking to Gemma and her saying that she wasn’t sure if she would be able to go to the Europeans really touched a nerve.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Gemma, can get in touch via the school on 01454 862900.