A LEEDS schoolboy, who is thought to be the youngest black belt in the world, hit a new sporting high when he took on opponents years older than him to win a bronze medal for England.
Little Jake Frood, who gained his karate black belt at just five years old, was by far the youngest and – at just 3ft tall – smallest competitor at the World Kickboxing Union (WKU) Championships in London.
The talented six-year-old, who is already on the WKU England team, was fighting children as old as nine and 10.
Proud mum Kerry said: “We weren’t expecting him to win anything. He just went along to for the experience.
“So when he got a bronze we couldn’t believe it. It was just amazing.
“He was so proud and overwhelmed when he got to stand on the podium.”
She added: “They couldn’t find an England fight suit small enough so he had to have it rolled up at the sleeves, waistband and ankles. He looked very funny.”
Jake suffered from a weak immune system and agonising juvenile arthritis as a toddler.
When doctors advised taking up sport to strengthen his bones he chose martial arts – inspired by his favourite film the Karate Kid, which he watched four times a day when he was ill.
Incredibly, the youngster’s passion for the discipline appears to have cured him. Doctors now say there is no sign of the painful arthritis that previously plagued him.
His sporting achievements and triumph over adversity were the reasons he won the Steve Prescott Sports Award at the recent Michael White Child of the Year Awards in Scunthorpe.
And a highlight for the Carr Manor Primary School pupil was when pop star Peter Andre called him up on stage while performing Mysterious Girl.
Kerry, 32, said the experience was a “close second” to winning bronze for England.
The mum-of-two said: “He was very excited about meeting Peter Andre but that medal means the world to him. It follows him everywhere.”
Jake, from Meanwood, enrolled at the National Martial Arts College in Horsforth aged just three.
To achieve his black belt, he completed a gruelling challenge including a two-mile run and four-hour martial arts test.
He is now training to be an instructor and will go for his second degree black belt in March.
Long-term, he has his eye on an Olympic medal.
Kerry said: “I’m sure it’s not beyond him. I wouldn’t put anything past that child.”