Junior world champion, Junior European Championships silver medallist and now a Youth Olympian – it’s been a 12 months to remember for rising taekwondo star Aaliyah Powell.

Add in a nomination for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award and the Huddersfield teenager is riding the crest of a wave as she looks to continue her upward trajectory.

Last November, Powell missed out on European taekwondo glory by the narrowest of margins – losing the -44kg final to Russia’s Polina Shcherbakova on technical superiority after the match ended tied – but left Larnaca content with a silver medal.

Gold followed in the -49kg category at the World Youth Champs in Hammamet, Tunisia in May and the 16-year-old has just returned from the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last month, where she was frustrated to lose to South Korea’s Lee Ye-Ji in the quarter-finals but insists the experience of a multi-sport games will prove invaluable later in her career.

“I didn’t get a medal at the Youth Olympics but it was a really great experience just to be able to go there,” explained Powell, a student at Shelley College.

“I learned a lot of life lessons out there, made a lot of new friends and learned a lot about different training.

“I got to see how everyone else trains and works for competitions, it’s definitely something I’ll use to help my own practice and competitions going forward.

“It’s made me want to come home and train harder – because I haven’t come away with a medal it’s made me more motivated to go out there and do all I can.

“Going to an Olympics would mean everything to me, it’s a goal that I’ve had since I was ten years old and to be able to go and do that would mean the world.

“The ultimate goal would be to win major medals, world and European medals, and I’d love to become Olympic champion.”

Capping off Powell’s stellar year is the fact she’s now set to join illustrious company as one of ten nominees for SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award – selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by the charity across more than 60 sports.

The Award was launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist and diving world champion Tom Daley the inaugural winner.

Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic para-equestrian champion Natasha Baker are among the panel of judges.

Powell was blown away to find out she had made the exclusive ten-strong shortlist and is keen to point out the pivotal role SportsAid and the Backing the Best programme, supported by Sport England, have played in her nascent career.

“I was a bit shocked when I heard about my nomination,” added the Huddersfield teenager. “I didn’t expect it and I didn’t think I’d be in the top ten out of everyone in the country.

“I first got involved with SportsAid thanks to other athletes who were supported – I was speaking to them and hearing about how much they’d benefited from the funding and support.

“It’s really helped me to get to competitions and to where I want to be in my career.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get to certain competitions without SportsAid’s support, and that means I wouldn’t have won some of the medals I have. It’s allowed me to progress and be more noticed within the sport.

“Being nominated for the One-to-Watch Award means I’m definitely doing something right, I’m just going to keep on doing that stuff and hopefully it will pay off.”

As part of her training, Powell makes the 40-50-minute commute to the National Taekwondo Centre in Manchester on a fortnightly basis – to be coached alongside the best taekwondo players in her age-group.

And having recently trained with a double Olympic champion and a double world champion, the youngster knows what she needs to do to join the sport’s elite.

“I train three or four times as week with specific taekwondo training, then there is a lot of strength and conditioning training that I do,” explained Powell.

“Every two weeks I go to the National Taekwondo Centre as well, I spend the weekend with the GB Development Squad and there are a lot of great athletes in there.

“It’s competitive, everyone is young and still learning but there are multiple people who make up your weight category.

“Within taekwondo we’re lucky to have some strong GB girls – Jade Jones and Bianca Walkden are big inspirations for me as I do get to see them train and I have trained with them recently.

“It was a tough experience, the intensity they train at is different to what I’m used to, but it’s great to be able to learn off them and use that to be able to better myself.”

The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s annual SportsBall, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Thursday 15 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.