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Karate wizard off to Oz

By Lewis Dyson

South Avenue juniors. Pupil Charlie Wetherill (8) has won a karate gold medal and might be off to the world champs.

Sittingbourne's very own karate kid is taking on the world’s best next year despite starting the martial art only just over 12 months ago.

Charlie Weatherill is off to Australia in July after winning gold medals in regional and national competitions.

Not bad for an eight-year-old who started going to classes to “have a go” after seeing other youngsters arriving in their karate gear.

Proud mum Emma, 35, of Amethyst Drive, Sittingbourne, who also goes to the GKR lessons at South Avenue Infants’ School, said: “He said he wanted to try it and we both started at the same time.

“It’s brilliant. There’s so much technique involved that there’s always something new to learn.

“All children want to become black belts and it gives him confidence to look after himself.”

Charlie, a South Avenue Junior School pupil, has proved he is more than a match for youngsters his age, winning gold at the regional competition in Aldershot aged seven, where he took on other orange belts.South Avenue juniors. Pupil Charlie Wetherill (8) has won a karate gold medal and might be off to the world champs.

“We had talked about the fact he wasn’t likely to win because it was out first tournament but he came away with a gold medal,” said Emma, an accountant.

Then last month was the national contest in Sheffield where Charlie was cheered on by about 30 family and friends, including his dad Chris.

Emma continued: “We had the same chat about not expecting to win, because this time everyone there had been to a regional and won a gold or silver. We were just going for the experience but he won a gold medal there too.

“I had a little tear in my eye. I was very proud.”

And next July, Charlie, who celebrated his eighth birthday last month, and his mum are off to Sydney for his first international competition.

But before then, he and Emma are both hoping to advance to their green belts, with their grading taking place on Sunday (Dec 9).

Emma said they had come a long way since deciding to take up karate. “We have made loads of friends through it. Everyone is just so nice.

“Charlie tries really hard at it and he’s really focussed. We just have a go.”

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