British taekwondo champion Aaliyah Powell is looking forward to representing Great Britan at the Junior World Championships and Youth Olympic Games qualifer in Tunisia next month.

The 15-year-old Shelley College student was selected after finishing a successful debut year as a Junior GB athlete by winning a silver medal at the European Championships in November.

She goes to Hamammet in April having made an unprecedented transition from Cadet to Junior last year – most athletes take time to adjust to the much tougher competition circuit.

But her debut in the Junior age category started in February with a win in Belgium, before she went on to win the prestigious Dutch Open Championships and then gold again at the European President’s Cup in Greece.

Aaliyah Powell is pictured with two-time Olympic medalist Lutalo Muhammad

Aaliyah qualified for the European Championships and also took the British title in the process.

She just missed the European title by the closest margin. In the final she lost out not on points or by the golden point decider, but only on technical superiority after the match ended tied.

The new European champion from Russia seemed as much surprised about the outcome as anyone!

Aaliyah’s success has enabled her to become firmly established in the Great Britain junior squad.

She was crowned GB Junior Athlete of the Year 2017, with Bianca Walkden (nominated for BBC Sport Personality of the Year) winning the senior equivalent, and is ranked as one of the top junior athletes in the world.

Preparing for the Junior Worlds and the Youth Olympic qualifier, Aaliyah has just returned from a nine-day training camp in Seoul, South Korea alongside her GB Taekwondo teammates.

Aaliyah said: “My plan is now to move up weight categories and perform well at the World Championships and Youth Olympics qualifier - it will be tough, but I can’t wait to test myself at the world level.”

She is aiming to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina – keen to follow in the footsteps of GB’s double Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones.

“I’m excited to make the team for the Youth Olympics and, of course, I want to emulate Jade’s success – but we are very different athletes,” she said.

Olympic glory would very much be the aim for Aaliyah and her coach Mike Mckenzie said: “The focus is Paris, but we are keeping Tokyo in mind.

“Aaliyah is an extraordinary talent and it is very easy to underestimate what she has already achieved at such an early age.”

Keeping the momentum going is now her challenge, and in preparation for the World and Olympic events she has competed at the Dutch Open once again.

She is supported by her club, Quest Taekwondo in Huddersfield, who are one of a handful of GB Talent clubs, as well as GB teammates, and has access to a strength and conditioning coach, a

physiotherapist and, of course, elite taekwondo coaches.

“I would like to thank the Great Britain Development team for the opportunity, everyone at Quest Taekwondo, Sportsaid and all my family and friends for their continued support,” said Aaliyah.

The costs involved in competing internationally in taekwondo are considerable and as the Junior age category is not fully funded, the costs for international competitions and the World and Youth Olympic qualifiers are funded by the athletes themselves.

Aaliyah is raising funds to help towards her costs. To help, go to: