This team of young karate kids are packing a powerful punch after receiving an England call-up at their first national competition.
Twelve youngsters from Leeds-based Kushinkai Dojo have been selected to join the WKC England karate team after scooping an impressive medal tally at a tournament in Manchester.
The young karate stars from the Chapeltown club, which works in partnership with Gipton Together and Karate for Inner City Kids (KICK), are now looking for sponsors to make their championship dreams come true. They are hoping to secure enough money to make their dream of competing in Portugal later this year a reality.
The youngsters came back from their first ever national competition with 13 medals - including two golds, three silver and eight bronze.
The club, which attracts children from across the city, aims to bridge the gap between neighbouring communities in Leeds and give youngsters the chance to achieve.
Aaron Brook, 12, is just one of the team who is looking to compete on an international level after being spotted by scouts.
He said: “I’m really proud to have been selected for the England team. I cannot believe how well we all did as it was our first time at a national competition.
“I hope that we will all be able to go to Portugal and represent our country. This is something we will never forget.”
Eight-year-old Jeremiah Tacerdera, from Gipton Together, received two bronze medals at the recent competition in Manchester.
He said: “I’m so proud and hope that I can represent my country.”
David Brook from the club, which has previously received support from Leeds Community Foundation and the Jimbo Fund, said he was delighted with the team’s achievements.
He said: “It was the first time at national level and it would be massive for them to take part in the championships.
“It would be life-changing.”
Terri Loney, who runs Gipton Together, added: “This is very exciting times for the kids and a reflection of the hard work of all involved.”
The karate stars train twice a week at Gipton Together.
Kushinkai will soon feature in a TV documentary highlighting the development of a grassroots programme which is due to be piloted in Liverpool, Birmingham and London.
For more information and to sponsor the club, contact Leeds Community Foundation on 0113 242 2426.