"Ability, Not Disability Matters": In Conversation with 3x Para World Champion Amy Truesdale
Photo: The Pioneer of Para Taekwondo, Amy Truesdale.
In a world often fixated on perceived limitations, Amy Truesdale stands as a testament to the power of resilience and determination. Sknclusive had the privilege of sitting down with the 3 x Para World Champion, delving into her remarkable journey from self-defence lessons at age 8 to becoming a trailblazer in the world of Para-Taekwondo.
Embracing Uniqueness: A Journey from Low Self-Esteem to World Champion
Amy Truesdale's story begins with a unique challenge—born with amniotic band syndrome, her missing hand and forearm didn't deter her, however became the driving force behind her relentless pursuit of excellence. Introduced to Taekwondo at a tender age, she navigated moments of low self-esteem, ultimately learning to embrace her uniqueness.
More than proud of having a limb difference, Truesdale believes
"it's one's 'ability, not the disability that matters,' and anyone can achieve the life they desire."
From Able-Bodied to Para-Athlete: A Transformative Journey
Truesdale's journey took a pivotal turn when she transitioned from able-bodied to para-athlete in 2009. A self-funded venture initially, she conquered numerous titles before achieving the pinnacle of success—World Champion at the 2017 world championships in London.
"Being the medal prospect from Tokyo, creating a world-class program, and allowing other athletes to be part of the para program are my biggest achievements so far along with the bronze medal from the 2020 Paralympic Games."
Inspirations and Resilience: Amy Truesdale's Winning Formula
Drawing inspiration from martial arts icon Bruce Lee and Paralympic athletes, Truesdale finds the most admirable traits in their determination, drive, and resilience.
"The traits I love most about athletes are their determination, drive, and resilience to bounce back from setbacks."
Beyond the Mat: A Poetic Side
Beyond the fierce kicks and disciplined training, Amy Truesdale harbours a surprising passion—writing poetry. Using it as a form of self-expression, her poems often weave narratives around personal life experiences.
Breaking Stereotypes: A Champion Against Discrimination
The most formidable opponent in Truesdale's career hasn't been a rival in the ring but the stereotypes surrounding her unique ability. Overcoming societal limitations and assumptions, she now educates others about discrimination.
"The most challenging thing I’ve had to overcome is the stereotypes some individuals still have towards me having a disability."
Words of Wisdom: Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Goals
In the face of setbacks, Truesdale's advice is simple yet profound—focus on your journey, find the positives in every situation, and celebrate small wins on the path to your goals.
"Nothing lasts forever, and things can change quickly. Try to see the positives in every situation and have small wins on your way to achieving your goals daily."
Confidence Unleashed: Stepping Out of Comfort Zones
Confidence, Truesdale notes, is a fluctuating sentiment. To bolster it, she advocates trying new things, pushing personal limits, and, above all, being one's cheerleader.
"Trying new things and pushing yourself to a level where you feel uncomfortable is a great way of discovering newfound confidence."
A Thank You to Self: Acknowledging Individual Drive
In a sport often perceived as individualistic, Truesdale expresses gratitude to her team while acknowledging the internal drive that propels her toward success.
"Taekwondo is an individual sport, so I would like to thank myself for my internal drive to succeed."
Advocating for Diversity and Equality: A Passion Beyond the Mat
Truesdale passionately advocates for diversity and equality, believing that events like the Paralympics need to showcase more diverse individuals, offering representation for those often misrepresented.
"I feel sporting events such as the Paralympics need to showcase more diverse individuals, which will hopefully represent individuals who at times may be misrepresented."
Balancing Act: A Peak into Amy's Life Beyond Sport
While balancing the demanding life of an elite athlete, Truesdale emphasises the importance of time management and self-care—highlighting the need for balance beyond the arena.
"Time management is great for me as it allows me to prioritise activities I need to do! I also make sure that I keep a self-care plan consisting of getting my nails done each month, having a cheat meal a week, and going for a coffee once a week."
2024 and Beyond A Focus on Training and Championships
Truesdale gears up for preparation for the Paralympic Games in 2024.
"My main focus is training and preparation for the Paralympic Games in 2024."
A Message to Young Amy: Cherish the Present, Discover Your Passion
In a heartwarming reflection, Truesdale sends a message to her 8-year-old self—encouraging her to embrace the present, not succumb to pressure, and explore passions without time constraints.
"Keep smiling, enjoy everything, and do your best to be in the present moment because time is the most precious gift we have."
In a parting note, Amy Truesdale extends her gratitude, leaving us with words of wisdom and an invitation to follow her empowering journey on Instagram.