Annetts wins three medals at Karate World Games and sets sights on step up to next level
Lambourn’s Holly Annetts exceeded even her wildest expectations as she won three medals at the Karate World Games in Florida.
The 19-year-old swapped Lambourn, famous for its racehorses, for Daytona, famous for its racecars and home to the most prestigious race in NASCAR, scooping a superb medal haul including a gold and two bronzes.
Annetts, who balances her training with studying for a degree at the University of Bath, had a less than ideal start as issues with her hotel threatened to derail her dream trip.
But she soon hit her stride and surprised herself with her success, winning the team kata gold medal and taking bronze in the creative kata and Korean weapons classes.
“I still don’t think it’s sunk in,” she said.
“Going out there, I didn’t really know what to expect, it’s the biggest competition I’ve ever gone into and my first time competing abroad.
“It was full on, I was very, very nervous.
“This was like the start of my career, I was taking on athletes from China and America so it was a real test.
“The problems with the hotel didn’t help, but other than that it was better than I even imagined.
“I still don’t have words to describe how amazing it was.”
Annetts was part of a 68 strong GB squad, who came home with 128 medals, while her club, Matt Ward UK Karate Federation, managed a staggering nine gold medals, five silver medals and five bronzes from a team of just six athletes.
And Annetts admitted that her team’s success made her own individual accolades even more special.
She said: “I had an absolute whale of a time, competing, training and celebrating with my team.
“Sharing in each other’s achievements was one of the real highlights, it was just incredible.”
Annetts had to manage her nerves on the big stage and utilised techniques she’s picked up in her first year at Bath to help her overcome any pre-tournament jitters.
“The build-up is even more nerve-wracking than the actual competition,” she said.
“I do a lot of imagery and mental rehearsal.
“I worked on it at university, but I never really saw the benefit until I tried it for myself – now I couldn’t be without it.
“I had my mum and dad with me. Mum was even more nervous than I was but dad was with me, calming me down and talking me through things.”
Annetts has been straight back into training since returning from the Sunshine State, making time to attend the Lambourn Carnival while also preparing to run the Bath half marathon as she looks to give back to the communities that helped her achieve success in the US.
She said: “It’s been manic, a whirlwind of emotions.
“There’s no rest for me, I’ve been training hard and looking to the future.
“We did the float at the Lambourn Carnival, I wanted to find a special way to say thanks to my friends, family and the people around me, because without them I’d never have made it to Florida.”
Annetts is now hoping she can use her Stateside success as a springboard as she looks to take her karate career to the next level.
“I’ve had my eyes opened to quite a lot of opportunities, I’ve just been made women’s karate captain at Bath,” she said.
“Now I’ve competed at high-ranking national level, I’ve been able to apply for a scholarship and that could open up a lot of doors.
“This could be a great new starting point for me.”