11-year-old Taekwondo champ set to take on the world

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Eleven-year-old Taekwondo Champion Rahera Heke from Flaxmere is set to compete at the World Taekwondo Championships in England, and she's the youngest by far on the New Zealand team.

She's been training for five years and is just one step away from her black belt. 

Trainer, Ben Evans from the Hawke's Bay International Taekwondo Federation says that he doesn't give out black belts easily, but that she is on track to receive hers towards the end of the year.

"I think she's got a really strong chance in England I think she's kicking way above her ability as an 11-year-old in Hawke's Bay as well, just really impressed by her.I think she's got a really strong chance in England I think she's kicking way above her ability as an 11-year-old in Hawke's Bay as well, just really impressed by her."

When asked why she enjoys Taekwondo so much, she simply replies, "because I like doing the pad-work, sparring and the patterns and techniques."

She'll be heading over to England as part of a three-man New Zealand team, with both of the other guys being black belts and one of them her coach Evans, who is 14 years her senior.

Naturally a shy person she is a fierce competitor on the floor and has won gold at the regional competitions for the past three years.

"It's just awesome, from little old Flaxmere, going all the way to the other side of the world, myself her father and all her family from Flaxmere are really proud of her," says her mother Hinemihi Allen.

The competition begins on the 27th of July in England and she is working hard to raise the thousands of dollars she needs to get over there.

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