Doncaster girl is taekwondo champion

Paige Leedale with parents Richard Leedale and Michelle Rodgers, and dog Cocoa.
Paige Leedale with parents Richard Leedale and Michelle Rodgers, and dog Cocoa.

A teenager from Harworth is celebrating her second win of the year after securing top scores in a national taekwondo competition.

Paige Leedale, 16, has just returned from the WTKA Unified World Championship in Tuscany, Italy, where she represented England and won one gold, three silvers and a bronze.

She already holds the title of World Champion in Taekwondo after winning a WKU event in London in August.

Paige’s success is made even more remarkable by the fact that she had full knee reconstruction and sat ten GSCE exams at the time of her London win - all while moving to Harworth.

Mum Michelle Rodgers said: “Paige is obsessive about training. Through the difficult times, that has been her focus and what’s gotten her through.

“She trains about five times a week. She goes to college, comes home and goes straight out to training. She’s very, very dedicated. She doesn’t get in until 9.30pm every night.”

Paige, who has a martial arts black belt, also holds the titles for Yorkshire Champion and British Champion.

Dad Richard Leedale said: “Her ambition is to fight in the Olympic Games, but for now, it’s one event at a time.”

Paige has also been nominated for the Bassetlaw Sportswoman of the Year in the 14-18 age category.

She will find out if she has won the award at a ceremony at Worksop College on Friday December 5.

One of the youngest black belts in England, Paige has been racking up the medals and trophies in regional and national events all over the country.

Next year, she may take one step towards making her Olympic dream a reality, as she is considering entering the trials next year.

For now though Paige, who has been doing taekwondo since she was six years old, has decided to focus on local compeitions, teaching young children and her school work.

“I hope to open my own school one day and give the children a place to shine while getting fit and having a place to go other than the streets,” she said.

“My main aim is to get as many young kids and adults into sport and martial arts as I can, pushing the sport to be more well known.”

Paige is already a Level 2 qualified martial arts instructor, and her GCSE performance secured her one of five available placements at Balby Carr Sports Academy, where she now studies sports medicine.

Inspired by Paige’s dedication and success, South Yorkshire Housing Association paid some of her expenses for her trip to Italy.

She will be offering martial arts taster sessions with them in the spring.

For more information, visit www.syha.co.uk.