Young German-Pinay fighter guides Olympic flame

by Edward Lao, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 24 2012 05:09 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2012 01:09 AM

SOUTHAMPTON – A British born German-Pinay fighter got to contribute towards sporting history on Day 58 of the Olympic torch relay.

Reigning British Taekwondo Champion Jeamy Navarro-Schrank, 12, was among a group of upcoming local talents that lined the tarmac of Southampton airport on the morning of July 15.

The youngsters, each recognized for excellence in their own respective sporting disciplines like golf, tennis and rugby, were invited by Eastleigh Borough Council to guide the Olympic flame onto an aircraft for the next leg of its trip around the UK.

When the flame arrived at 7 a.m., the 20 athletes formed a guard of honor leading up to a British Airways plane, bound south for the Channel Islands.

The torch relay will end its journey at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, marking the start of the 2012 Games.

In a telephone interview with ABS-CBN Europe, Jeamy's father, Yan Schrank, said his daughter was very proud to be involved in the ceremony, albeit slightly surprised by the scale of things. She did not expect such a large convoy of vehicles to arrive.

Yan explained the experience has also inspired his daughter to work even harder to achieve her dream. The taekwondo prodigy, who already trains with Great Britain's National Cadet Team, aims to compete in the Olympic Games one day.

Gold at British International Open

Immediately after the torch boarded the plane, Jeamy raced over to the K2 Centre in Crawley, around 70 miles away, to compete in the British International Open.

Although not a ranking tournament, Jeamy entered this year's competition as part of her preparation for several important key dates in the calendar.

She wanted to get used to a new electronic scoring system, as well as test out some techniques and strategies that she had been working on over the last few months.

Her mentor, British Taekwondo South (BTS) coach Gareth Brown, also a coach for Great Britain's Junior National Team, was pleased with Jeamy's progress. Not only did his fighter display improvement in areas like creating opportunities, she also won a gold medal for her efforts.

Jeamy is set to compete in a string of upcoming tournaments, including the Serbian, Croatian and US Open, ahead of the European Championships in Romania. 

The European Championships in June 2013 will be the first opportunity for Jeamy to fight under the Team GB banner.

Jeamy's next major competition will be the British National Taekwondo Championships in Manchester this September. She is currently the reigning two-time champion in the Under-12 category, but this year she will be stepping up to the Under-14s.

The youngster is aiming to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games, where she will most probably compete in the Under-49kg category.

Guest of US Master at London Olympics

Jeamy will also be watching some of the taekwondo events at the upcoming London Games.

She has been invited as the special guest of revered United States Olympic coach Master Jean Lopez, whom she has trained with in the past.

Jeamy will be supporting Master Lopez's brother, Steven Lopez, who is one of the sport's biggest stars. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and 5-time world champion is due to fight in the Under-80kg category on August 10 at the ExCel Centre.