EVER since she was a little girl, Olympic glory has been Jordyn Smith’s dream.   

Scotland’s top taekwondo player has long had her sights set on reaching the top of her sport and when she became World Junior champion in 2018, it appeared she was right on track.  

Still only 20, Smith remains on an impressive upward trajectory.  

She announced her arrival onto the senior scene with bronze at the European Championships just a month after her World Junior title and so the next logical step was to target Olympic success.  

However, as is typically the case for elite athletes, things have not gone entirely smoothly for Smith as she aims to fulfill her dream of becoming an Olympian.  

Being part of the GB taekwondo squad, one of the strongest and most competitive in the world, brings with it both positives and negatives. 

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Training daily alongside the likes of two-time Olympic champion, Jade Jones, and three-time world champion, Bianca Walkden, is invaluable but having teammates of such quality has significant drawbacks too, primarily what it means for the rest of the squad aiming for Olympic places.  

GB has only five available spots for female taekwondo players at the Tokyo Olympic this summer and with athletes required to be in the top-six in the world to ensure selection, Smith has narrowly missed out making her Olympic debut later this year.  

Despite her young age and her impressive progress through the sport, Smith admits knowing she will have to wait a few more years to test herself at the Olympic Games was a bitter blow.  

“Tokyo was the goal for me but it is really difficult to make the team, the qualification is very tough,” the -49kgs fighter says.  

“I was pretty gutted when I didn’t make it into the top-6 but after speaking to my coach, I realised this is just another step in achieving what I want to do.  

“My goals still stay the same as they’ve always been, it’s just aimed at 2024 now.”  

 Similarly to all elite athletes, Smith has found the past year challenging. With the national training centre in Manchester closed due to lockdown, Smith temporarily returned to her parents’ home in Falkirk and admits she was better placed than most to maintain her training regime, with a gym already set up in the back garden, her dad a taekwondo coach and her younger sister an accomplished taekwondo player in her own right, the Scot reveals she was able to maintain a good level of training despite the circumstances.    

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Her return to competition at the end of last year was encouraging, with another European bronze to add to her collection but that delight was quickly tempered by the realisation that surgery on her elbow was required, resulting in an enforced lay-off.  

However, with the World Championships on the horizon later this year, Smith has her sights set on claiming her first global major championship silverware.  

“I definitely think I can be challenging for World medals,” she says.   

“I’ve been in the ring with the top athletes and I know I can compete so it’s about believing in myself and believing that I can beat these girls.   

“I think if I have that belief, I can be right up there pushing for world medals.”  

The Tokyo Olympics may not have even taken place yet but already, Smith has Paris 2024 in the back of her mind.   

Having experienced the disappointment of missing out on selection for Tokyo, she is determined to ensure that is not repeated, although her target is far loftier than merely making it into the Olympic team.  

“I do imagine myself at Paris in 2024 and while it’s still over three years away, those three years will fly in and will be really busy with competitions. So I know it’ll come around really quickly,” she says.  

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“Obviously my first goal is to make the top-6 in the world and be selected for GB and then it’s about getting a medal - and hopefully it’s a gold.  

“That’s the advantage of the GB selection being so tough – if you get in the team, you know you know you have a very good chance of doing well.  

“You just have to believe in yourself.”