Blackbelt Academy coaches full of pride after nine students qualify for World Championships
Nine youngsters from the Blackbelt Academy have been celebrating securing themselves a place at the World Traditional Karate Association’s World Championships.
It proved to be a successful qualifying event in Chesterfield for the club, who host training sessions in Diss and Harleston.
They won a total of 18 medals across seven different disciplines, with each medallist rubber stamping their place among the 6,000 competitors at the Worlds in Italy later this year.
Among those that will be representing their country is Yaxley’s Elizabeth White, who won a hat-trick of gold medals at the qualifier.
The 12-year-old said: “I’m so excited to represent England. The whole team will be working very hard now to get ready for the World Championships.”
Diss-based Mason Hill – just seven years old and a winner of two silver medals – along with Alex Taylor, who hails from Pulham Market, will also be in the squad.
Maisie Emmerson – a Blackbelt Academy coach and former karate world champion – said: “I could not be any prouder of this incredible young team.
“They all performed incredibly well against some tough competition and supported each other throughout the event.”
Also proud of his students’ success is Grandmaster Richard Vince, who has been teaching martial arts since 1980.
The former world kickboxing champion is hoping enough money can now be raised to ensure all of those that have qualified can make the journey to Italy.
He said: “It was a great day for these kids who are all reasonably new to competing at this level.
“Our members come from all walks of life and we are hoping to raise enough money to support them with this amazing opportunity.
“Some of these kids train five days a week, with tireless dedication to their sport.
“We really do hope we can raise enough to ensure all of them can attend so that all that hard work is rewarded.”
Blackbelt Academy’s nine World Championship qualifiers: Ethan Divall, Maddy Lee, Mason Hill, Sam Cook, Elizabeth White, Alex Taylor, Gwen Cook, Sophie Sayers and Albert Gluszek