Taekwondo Olympian Carmen Marton Is Fighting For Women In Need

Taekwondo Olympian Carmen Marton Is Fighting For Women In Need

by | Jul 31, 2019

She’s a world champion, fought at Olympic level three times as a member of the Australian Taekwondo team, and hopes to do it all again at Tokyo 2020. But right now, Melbourne’s Carmen Marton has rolled up her dobok sleeves for a battle of a different kind.

Carmen, along with Sydney’s 2017 Commonwealth champion Kate McAdam, is fronting a campaign to empower women suffering from the past trauma of domestic violence through the healing power of Taekwondo.

Pink Belt Project delivers scholarships covering one year of free Taekwondo training to women in need.

pink belt project


Launched last year, there are currently eight women across Australia training at their local Taekwondo club at no cost, with their scholarship funds covering class fees, uniform, equipment, grading exams and membership fees. Each scholarship is worth $2,000.

“This is a project designed and driven by women, for women,” Carmen said.

“It is about allowing women in need to rebuild themselves and their lives in an environment that centres around empowerment, personal development, respect, achievement through perseverance, deep camaraderie and above all else, kindness.”

Pink Belt Project was launched last year by Western Australian Taekwondo mum Kristy Hitchens, who blogs about her often comical adventures as a middle-aged martial artist under pseudonym The Mortal Mouse.

pink belt project


Her idea was inspired by a friend forced to quit Taekwondo after escaping a violent marriage that left her deeply traumatised and barely able to support herself financially.

Peak sports body Australian Taekwondo was quick to jump behind the concept, helping spread word of the project through its national connections. When approached by Kristy to help build the profile of the project and assist with fundraising, Carmen and Kate didn’t hesitate to get on board.

“I am grateful beyond words to have the support of such highly decorated national athletes for this project and only demonstrates just how much they both embrace the ancient tradition of our martial art, not just as a sport, but a way of life,” Kristy said.

Scholarships are achieved through a combination of a crowdfunding campaign (now on), sponsorship and Taekwondo clubs offering their own matched scholarships.

pink project


“This time last year I had given up on life. I felt that my life was no longer my own and I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt joy,” Nicole* said.

“But here I am! Arriving at another training session, in my second month and loving it. I feel strong and empowered.

“I feel more confident; and have found a little piece of joy, in one hour a day, twice a week. And it’s mine.

“When my scholarship period ends, I hope to continue on, and aim towards that seemingly elusive black belt. Everyone looks good in black, right?”

A three month fundraising campaign for Pink Belt Scholarships to be undertaken in 2020 is now underway. You can donate at chuffed.org/project/pinkbelt

*Name changed to protect identity

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It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?