A SALTCOATS champion teen is worried she won’t make her dream of competing in the Olympics because she’s from a deprived area.

Aria Pascual, insists karate is her entire life but since it relies heavily on self funding it can be hard to keep up.

But the impressive 18-year-old refuses to let that stop her as she continues to win competitions with her latest being the JKS World Championships.

Now Aria has her sights set on the World Champions so she can fly a Scotland flag on the podium.

She also wants to be a role model to show other girls it isn’t just a sport for boys.

Aria has dedicated her entire life to karate as she trains up to seven days a week to prepare with her next big being the WKF World Championships.

But the inspiring teenager needs help from her community through sponsorships and donations so she can fulfill her dream of going to the Olympics in 2024.

Aria said: “I’d love to be in the Olympics. I don’t think words could describe how happy I’d be if got to go.

“It would be a big thing for me as well coming from a deprived area like Saltcoats. People don’t think you can achieve.

“The way karate is it’s not looked on as a female sport but I want to show it can be.

“Being a female and from a deprived area like Saltcoats I want to get on the world stage. It would be amazing.

“Other people in the karate teams are from affluent areas. It’s just difficult because I want to do it but it costs money.

“I appreciate any support I can get.

“My whole life is dedicated to my sport, I enjoy doing it. It’s what I want to do. For the love of my sport. Live out my dream and do it for a living.

“I can’t do it without the support of my mum, the support I get from the community and other people.”

Aria’s mum Joanne said: “It’s just amazing because she keeps on going, she just trains so hard all the time.

“You’re not successful all the time as you get older the calibre of the competition gets harder and harder so it’s phenomenal that she’s managed to keep it up.

“We don’t have the financial means, we rely on the goodwill of others. We’re from Saltcoats which isn’t the most affluent of areas. We wrote to all the Ayrshire businesses in the last year and nothing.

“It would be really good if a local business could get behind her.”

Aria wants to give a special thanks to her mum and her family and friends for all the support

She said: “I’m grateful for all the support from them. Karate is self-funding so I’m really grateful for the support long term. The managing body doesn’t fund it, it receives no funding from sportscotland.

“I’d like to thank Pat Breen and Cunninghame Housing Association – they’re both awful good to me.

“Karate’s my life. It’s ingrained in me. If I didn’t have it, I don’t know what I’d do but I need the support to help me do it.”