13 °CSun, 23

JJ not distracted from Olympic dream

John Hooks

Reporter:

John Hooks

Email:

john.hooks@ulstergazette.co.uk

KEADY martial arts expert Jesse Jane McParland has returned to the small screen with a recurring role in the hit US TV series Into the Badlands.

JJ, who burst onto television screens in 2015 with her stunning display of martial arts on Britain's Got Talent, joined the cast last November and is set to make a number of future appearances.

Starring British actor Nick Frost, Into the Badlands is a character drama which combines the highest calibre of martial arts and filmmaking - the perfect stage for the JJ!

The St Patrick's High School student has been busy globe-trotting in recent years with managers in the UK and America who have been carefully selecting roles for the 12-year-old star.

JJ has travelled all over the world for parts as well as turning down a number of other high-profile invitations as they clashed with her first love.

"For JJ the biggest excitement comes from competing, this was her first love and it always will be," said mum, Sinead.

"She will be filming for Sky TV in London soon but other than that she will be preparing to defend her WAKO World Championship title. It's been a strange year for JJ who was unable to train for a spell due to injury and her filming commitments but she is certainly at her happiest when she is back in full training and competing."

As a current WAKO champion (World Association of Kick-Boxing Organisations) and YouTube star with over 500 million views JJ was the obvious choice to be the WAKO ambassador this year. In recent years she has done everything from appearing on the front cover of a Russian sports magazine, guesting on the Ellen de Genres show in America and opening the senior WAKO World Championships in Belgrade.

Earlier in the year JJ flew to Bangkok for the WAKO SportAccord Convention where she helped inspire the next generation of young kick-boxing stars coming through.

With all these distractions it could be easy to become complacent however JJ still has her sights firmly set on the biggest prize of all.

The local girl dreams of competing at the Olympics in kick-boxing and with her rise to worldwide fame at the tender age of 12 who would bet against her.

"She still dreams of the Olympics and we will do everything we can to support that dream," said Sinead.

"Despite all the attention JJ is still the same with her feet firmly on the ground and still the same big sister and daughter she has always been - we are very proud of her."

With full-time training and competing all over the world JJ is currently on the look-out for a sponsor to help fulfil her dreams of reaching the pinnacle of her sport She is currently supplied by Top Ten for her sportswear and equipment but a major sponsor would be a great help.

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