A WOMAN who is registered blind said it was ‘amazing’ to win gold in a national taekwondo competition.
Two years ago, Nikki Sibeon, from Holywell, was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease called best macular degeneration, a condition which leads to the loss of central vision.
Nikki, 26, said she wants to set an example for people in a similar position as her, and she is doing just that after winning gold and bronze medals at the Welsh Closed Taekwondo Championships in Newport last Sunday.
Nikki won gold in the patterns category and a bronze in the sparring.
Speaking of her win, Nikki said: “I felt amazing when I won the gold and initially I felt very nervous about sparring as it was my first one, so to get bronze was awesome. I couldn’t believe it.
“It was a tough competition so I was amazed that I won anything.”
The next competition Nikki hopes to compete in is the TAGB Championships in the Midlands in January, but she said she is not certain whether she will be ready in time for it.
She is also hoping to achieve her red belt in taekwondo on Sunday, and said she is feeling confident.
Nikki took up the sport about two years ago at Flint Taekwondo Club, where she also competes against able bodied members.
She trains three times a week at the club and says it’s hard work but a good activity to do socially.
“My family are super proud of me. I was sparring and competing against able bodied people,” she said.
“It has given me the confidence boost I needed to go for my grading on Sunday for my red belt.”
Speaking to the Leader previously about her condition, Nikki said: “People often comment and I do get upset when people question my disability and question what I can and can’t see, as they see me doing different things, which is why I decided to do something about it.”
Nikki’s condition affects both of her eyes, but she said it is mainly her left eye which is affected. She went to an optician, who noticed a mark on her eyes, and that’s when they found out about the disease.
Last year Nikki ran the Chester Half Marathon alongside a guide runner, completing it in just over three hours and she is now looking for another guide runner to help her get back into running to complement her new hobby, taekwondo.