Student wins gold at European champs

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A karate black belt has twice struck gold to become European champion in her martial art.

Northallerton School and Sixth Form College student Rebecca Boakes also took bronze at the 42nd Federation of European Wadokai Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 16-year-old fought in the 16-17-year-old, +59kg class taking gold in Kumite (fighting) and Kata (form and patterns) classes.

She received bronze in the team Kata competition performing a synchronized display with two colleagues.

After a grueling qualifying competition that started at 8.30am she finally defeated 7-5 a local Hungarian competitor to take gold at about 9pm.

“She was brutal and not very happy with me, especially as she came away from the contest with a black eye,” said Rebecca.

A first dan black belt, she only took up karate four years ago to boost her self-confidence in the face of playground bullies at a previous school.

Now a member of Newby’s Combat Arts Academy, Keighley, she is coached for Kumite by Paul Newby, a former world champion and Frank Pullano and for Kata by

current British champion James Scanlon at the J S Karate Academy.

She is hoping to compete again internationally and is watching closely whether karate is included as an Olympic sport at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“I’m really hoping the Olympic Committee agrees as it would be amazing to go to Japan to compete in the spiritual home of karate,” she said.

Rebecca is studying biology, chemistry, maths and English literature at A Level at the Sixth form college, with a view to become a neurosurgeon one day.