WELL-known for being Heather Mills’ former personal trainer, Ben Amigoni has stepped out of the celebrity’s shadow to take the limelight himself by clinching bronze at the PUMA Taekwondo World Championships.
The 30-year-old from Dursley is celebrating the biggest success of his sporting career after he won three fights at the two-day event in Swindon, which attracted over 600 fighters from all over the world, to secure a medal in the male black belt 75kg category before losing in the semi-final.
Amigoni spent four years travelling the world while working exclusively for Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, helping her get in shape for TV shows Dancing on Ice and US hit Dancing with the Stars before setting up his own home personal trainer service in the Cotswolds called Yourlife Health and Fitness.
He competes in the Korean form of tae kwon do, which involves punching and kicking and is governed by the International Taekwon-do Federation rather than the World Taekwondo Federation associated with the Olympics.
Amigoni, who often travels abroad for competitions, has picked up a collection of medals at various tournaments, but was knocked out in the first round on the only previous occasion he was selected for the PUMA World Championships in Birmingham two years ago, so he was delighted to go so far this time.
“I was over the moon,” he said.
“My training is such an integral part of my life with my business and I try to incorporate that into every ones training.
“I write myself programmes and put myself through gruelling workouts. It’s nice to know that hard work pays off.
“You get a great sense of satisfaction, particularly when two years prior I was not getting through, then all of a sudden I’m getting a bronze medal.”
Amigoni was selected for the tournament by Global Tae kwon do International, the association he trains with in Cheltenham.
He started tae kwon do aged nine but had a break for ten years before rediscovering his passion and now trains four nights a week.
Although some ITF fighters can be scouted as having Olympic potential, Amigoni accepts that is unlikely in his case and his main goal is to earn selection for the ITF World Championships in Italy next year.
“Realistically I’m doing it for the passion,” said Amigoni who won a silver medal in point sparring and bronze in continuous sparring at the GTI English Championships this year.
“In terms of the Olympics, I’m a little bit past it – I’m doing it purely for the love.
“Everyone thinks tae kwon do is aggressive but it really isn’t.”