© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Ashley Blenkhorn with some of the basic tenets of life she will carry with her to the world taekwondo championships beginning Oct. 23 in Spain. Blenkhorn earned a spot on Team Canada after winning a silver medal at the national championships in May.
AMHERST - Blenkhorn is 16-years-old and has been a student at JC's TaeKwon-Do for almost 10 years. In October she is heading to Benidorm, Spain where she will compete at the 2013 World TaeKwon-Do ITF Championship as part of Team Canada.
Blenkhorn is fairly petite but, despite her size, she always feels safe.
"Taekwondo gives me a sense of confidence and protection," she said.
"I don't feel unsafe. If I go to Halifax I don't feel worried, and my parents don't worry about me. I can protect myself."
Blenkhorn earned a birth at the world's after winning silver at the national championships in Quebec City during the May long weekend.
"I won one of my two matches at nationals and that was enough to get me onto the national team."
Her desire to make Team Canada helped her prevail at the nationals, where she competed in the Junior Female Lightweight Division.
"In black belt sparring there's two, two-minute rounds. In the second round of my second match I was really tired because my first match was exhausting," said Blenkhorn. "I realized that if I didn't win the final round I wouldn't be going to Spain, so I gave it everything I had left and, basically, collapsed afterwards from exhaustion."
She will travel to Spain Oct. 18, and competition is from Oct. 23 to 27.
Between now and then she will work on her cardio and attend several training camps.
Team Canada is holding three camps across the country and she's been invited to additional camps in Ottawa and Halifax.
Team Canada will field a team of almost 100 athletes for the worlds, and there will be 65 countries participating in the event.
Blenhorn says there could be up to 120 competitors in her division and says she'd be happy if she finished in the top half of the field.
"I'd like to win one match," she said. "To win one match at the world's would be amazing."
No matter how she does she said she will continue to practice taekwondo for many years to come.
"It's a challenge," says Blenkhorn.
"Every opponent creates a different scenario. You never have the same fight twice," said Blenkhorn. "Even fighting the same person twice is completely different.
"It always gets more difficult, more interesting and more fun," she added. "It's always a new thing."