Photo: Ashlyn White during training at the World Cadets.
Ashlyn White, 16, of Pembroke Pines, trains twice –a-day, every day, except for Sundays --and that’s just fine by her. As she sees it, the road to Olympic gold is paved with hard work, sacrifice, and dedication … and by her estimate, the upcoming World Cadet Championships is just one more rung to climb on her ladder of Olympic dreams.
“I want to go all the way,” says White. “World Cadets is a stepping stone into the international judo world. I want to fight on the biggest stages, and I will sacrifice what I must to get as far as I can go. I don’t care who you are or where you are from, I will beat you.”
White is part of a 19 U.S. team delegation who will participate in what is arguably one of the most prestigious judo junior tournaments on U.S. mainland, the World Cadet Championships. This elite competition is the latest judo event to be held at the Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Aug. 8 -11. World Cadets is specifically designed for youth athletes, ages 15 – 17, and is a qualifying international tournament for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China. Participating nations send their top ranking youth athletes per division. Participants in this exclusive event will compete for ranking points and for a share of $50,000 for making the podium.
White, 48 kg, trains at Panther Judo Club of Pembroke Pines, and is a first degree black belt. She’s been committed heart and soul to judo since the age of 9, and looks at 2012 U.S.A Olympic gold medalist, Kayla Harrison, and bronze medalist, Marti Malloy, as female trail blazers in a male dominated sport.
Says White: “Judo is a good sport for women. Kayla and Marti showed the world that American women can perform in judo and win. They’ve encouraged me to work hard to get better and better. To be good at judo, you must push yourself beyond your limits.”
Joining White in the quest for excellence is Sarah Subko, 16, of Dover near Tampa, FL. Subko first became intrigued with judo at the age of five after observing a practice.
“I asked my mother why those kids were wearing pajamas, but she explained they were wearing gis,” says Subko. “Ever since then, I’ve practiced judo and it’s been great!”
Subko has gathered several titles in her division during the past 11 years including Florida State Champion, Sportsmanship Award Junior Olympics and Most Outstanding Female Sunshine State Games. But as a first time World Cadet team member, Subko is most eager get on the mats and win for her country.
“World Cadets is an amazing opportunity to represent the U.S.A., and I just can’t think of anything better,” says Subko. “Being in this team is a lifetime opportunity, it’s definitely the highlight of my summer, and after all of the training I’ve done, I’m ready to leave it all on the mat, and make my country, friends, family, and coaches proud.”
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