At just 20 years old, Aaliyah Powell has climbed the ranks of the taekwondo world at an impressive rate – and she’s not stopping anytime soon with the support of Nike on her side. Her stats are undoubtedly impressive, having won bronze at the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships in the bantamweight category and in 2023 in the women’s lightweight class. Now her sights are set on the 2024 Paris Olympics.
For Powell, it would be a dream come true. “I think since I was really young, I wanted to be an Olympic champion. I’ve known that since before 10 years old,” she tells Culted. As difficult to achieve this childhood dream of hers is, Powell has kept her eyes on the prize and continues to work relentlessly to make it come true. “The moment that I thought I could definitely do this professionally was when I won the Junior World Championships in 2018,” she adds.
Taekwondo is an extremely technical combat sport that requires you to be quick on your feet and have a calculated swiftness that Powell has mastered. She often shows this off on her Instagram, regularly posting her workouts and practices, inspiring a generation of young girls to enter the world of combat sport.
Most girls will agree that entering the world of combat sport can be quite daunting, often dissuaded from taking it on, leaving it up to their male counterparts. Though for Powell, taekwondo is an entirely different story. “Honestly, I think that taekwondo’s great for girls and women to do,” she explains. “It’s a very inclusive sport in general.”
It isn’t just the UK, the country she represents at competition, that believes in and continues to cheer on Powell all along her career. In January of this year, Nike spotted the young taekwondo practitioner, and impressed by her prowess, signed her on as an official Nike athlete.
Nike is an innovator in the sports world and this year marks the biggest investment the brand has ever made into women. By listening to the voices of their athletes and obsessing their needs, Nike has introduced product innovations that remove barriers to movement and sport, empowering women to do the sport they love with peace of mind. “Nike has helped me to, more than anything, just feel comfortable in what I’m wearing” and “feel I look good in.”
Just like Nike’s famous motto “Just do it,” Powell shares the same go-getter attitude. “Anything you want to do, just start,” she confidently states. The skills, strength and agility to be a top worldwide taekwondo athlete are all things Powell learnt through her intensive and extensive training, but her sheer grit and determined mindset are what got her to the place she is at today.
We’ll have to stay tuned til next year to see if she makes it to the Paris Olympics 2024, and more importantly, if she’ll snatch a medal for team GB. Considering her journey so far though, there’s no doubt that no matter what, she will continue to make her country and those who look up to her proud. As for Nike, its goal remains the same: supporting and uplifting young women in sports, including Powell, and Alice Dearing, the pro marathon swimmer.
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