Leeds karate queen selected for 2014 European Championships

Hanya Kowalczuk in action. PIC: Tony Johnson
Hanya Kowalczuk in action. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Karate queen Hanya Kowalczuk is preparing to kick out the competition after being selected for the European Championships in Verona.

The 21-year-old cleaner from Pudsey will travel to Italy for the competition in June.

Hanya was chosen for the World United Karate Federation’s championships after a rigorous selection process.

She will be competing in both kata and kumite events and has also recently achieved a Boxercise instructor’s qualification.

Hanya, who got back into the sport in 2011 after a break, said: “It’s quite scary making it into the championships. I’m excited but nervous.

“I’m training three or four times a week and at home and I just love it.

“I went and watched the World Championships in Romanis and that inspired me to try harder.”

Speaking about her day job as a cleaner, Hanya added: “It’s nice to have the change.

“I can feel tired after work but when I get to training it’s a whole different energy.”

Hanya trains at the Kaizen Martial Arts Academy in Stanningley. Instructor and owner Jim Reece said: “I am chuffed to bits and over the moon. Hanya is so committed.

“She trains as many nights a week as she can.

“They have got to meet certain criteria to be selected for the competition and Hanya fought for her place.

“She’s a grafter and trains hard and I’ve never seen anybody so motivated.”

He added: “It’s a wonderful feeling to realise that even just one or two people can really make it and I am motivated by their achievements.”

Hanya added: “Jim is a good teacher and funny too.”

To sponsor Hanya and help fund her so she can go to the championships in Verona, visit: http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/kaizenmaa/

For more information about the Kaizen Martial Arts Academy in Stanningley, visit the website at: www.kaizenmartialarts.co.uk

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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