Each week’s winner announcement will be accompanied by a Q&A with the athlete themselves.
This week’s winner is Aston Cook. Aston is a 21 year-old kickboxer from Bristol. On a special note for the day that’s in it – Happy 21st birthday, Aston!
After claiming bronze at the Kickboxing World Championships last year, she has set her sights on the gold medal at the European Championships in Athens next year.
Aston met PledgeSports Founder & CEO, Richard Pearson, at the Future of Sport Conference in the University of Worcester last week. She has turned to crowdfunding in an effort to raise the £700 she needs to turn her European ambition into reality.
Did you enjoy the Future of Sport Conference (FOSC)?
I absolutely loved the FOSC I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get a real in sight in to the industry of crowdfunding, sponsorship, marketing, advertising and most importantly how we as students can be developing our 3-year study in to the real life thing.
How did you get into Kickboxing?
I first got in to kickboxing when I was 7 years old, I tried every sport/activity/club imaginable, I was a dancer for 2-3 years and to be quite honest I was terrible- the moment I failed my ballet exam I knew it was time for a change. I went along to the local sports centre and took part in my very first kickboxing lesson, from that moment I’ve never looked back.
Ever been knocked out or knocked anyone else out (in the ring?!)
Yes, I have been knocked out, I went to the European Cup in 2015 in Italy, I was fighting 2 weight divisions above my normal weight class, I was fighting about 10:30 at night and I took an elbow to the eye, I don’t remember much after that only waking up in a strange Hospital stuck in a neck brace, a hefty bill and stitches in my eye.
Who inspires you?
I guess my biggest inspiration is my Mum. One thing she has always hold me is to work hard and never give up. I suppose that’s my moto to everything now. I see a strong, independent hard working women and that’s exactly where I get my inner strength from.
How are you celebrating your birthday?
I am celebrating my 21st birthday with my Mum and friends in Camden, London. It’s one of my favourite places to go and I thought that what better way to spend my birthday than with close friends and good food.
Who would win in a kickboxing bout – you or Cory (brother)?!
(Laughs) Being the totally kind person that I am. I would have to say… me! No, he is an extremely talented hardworking lad, he has already achieved more than what some kids dream of. I love fighting my brother, we certainly do bring the best out in each other and I am incredibly proud of him.
How do you rate your chances of winning gold in Athens?
I am 100% committed and focused on the gold for this year’s European Championships. Winning a bronze medal in the World Championships last year pushes me even harder to get to the top this year. It’s a very tough division with some of the best female fighters on the planet. It will be tough, nothing in this sport comes easy, but I am working hard and hopefully that will pay off.
Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
10 years from now, I’d like to think I’m not a retired fighter but I would love to pass my experience and knowledge on to other kids. I am part of a club which is more like a family. We have some very talented kids it would be good to hopefully coach and be behind them as they win world titles.
My dream job would be to work within the sports industry. (Maybe even PledgeSports!) From having a lack of funding and sponsorship growing up it would be good to be involved within sponsorship to take the pressure of families and children so they are able to compete at the top level without the financial stress.
Read Aston’s story and support her European dream by following this link www.pledgesports.org/projects/european-kickboxing-championships-2016