Gilbert teen heading to Thailand for Muay Thai training

- A 15-year-old girl from Gilbert is on her way to becoming a world champion fighter in Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is also known sometimes as Thai Boxing. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, it's a traditional Thai martial art in which the fists, elbows, knees, and bare feet may all be used to deliver blows.

"It's part of the game," said Tierra Brandt. "You're going to get hit. It hurts every now and then, but I've done it for so long I'm used to it."

Brandt is already a four-time national champion. Come August she'll be going for gold overseas.

Brandt got a few last rounds in at her home gym, before heading to Thailand for a month. She will be competing in the IFMA World Championships in the sport of Muay Thai. This is Brandt's second time at the competition, having won bronze a year ago.

"I'm super proud of it," said Brandt It's been a long long journey to get where I am right now, but all of the hard work, all of the hours of practice all of the miles I had to run, I'm glad I've gotten this far. I'm proud of it."      

Tierra started training at just nine years of age, and both of her parents were fighters. Brandt's father, Danny Brandt, is now her coach.

"They're going over there to Thailand to compete with 80-plus countries," said Danny. "She's got her hands full, but I think she's going to have a good chance at winning gold this year." 

Brandt isn't only competing for the gold medal. She's also competing for her future of potentially becoming an Olympian.

"I can't turn pro until I'm an adult, but this year, Muay Thai is being looked at for the Olympics in 2024," said Brandt. "If I win gold at this tournament, there's a good chance I'll be on the Olympic team for 2024."

The 2024 Olympic games is scheduled to be hosted by either Paris or Los Angeles.

Brandt leaves for Thailand on Thursday and will compete the first week of August.

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