A Scottish mum has become a taekwondo world champion – after a trip to her son’s martial arts class convinced her to train for the first time in more than 20 years.
Mags Ford, 46, had not stepped on the mat for 25 years, but watching her nine-year-old son Josh train from the sidelines, rekindled her love of the martial arts.
And after spending months training up to five nights a week, the mum-of-two from Livingston, West Lothian, was awarded a gold and silver medal at the ITF Taekwondo World Cup 2012 in Brighton this month, her first competition in a quarter of a century.
Mags beat off stiff competition from England and Finland to win a silver medal in the patterns discipline, which tests a competitor’s technique, as well as gold for best overall performer in the veteran’s category.
The hard-working mum said the contact sport was the “ultimate stress reliever”.
Mags, who also works as deputy services manager with the Lothian and Borders police, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was stood on the podium. I’d gone to Brighton quite nervous and excited; winning the gold was just fantastic.
“I had long given up the sport but three years ago I began bringing Josh along and pretty soon I was itching to get in there and get involved.
“I always thought of it as a good way to keep fit and I never thought of entering any competitions. It was Robin who eventually persuaded me to give it a go, I’m glad he did. My son’s dead impressed; he thinks I’m wonderful now.
“I really do recommend it as a stress reliever. It’s a great way to release some pent up energy. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband and son, they’ve had to put up with a lot throughout my preparation for the tournament because I was training five or six times a week.”
The mum-of-one trains at the Pro-Edge gym which is run by Coach Robin Blair.
Robin said: “I always knew she could hold her own, she’s very fast and very strong, and that’s why I spent so long talking her into it.
“She’s very modest about it all but she puts the hard work in each week. It’s a great way to keep fit at any age.”