Success is a 'Shaw thing' for young talent Sullivan
NINE-year-old Sullivan Shaw is the new karate kid on the block at Cleethorpes club Fix 'n' Kiks after a sensational silver medal triumph.
Shaw landed the runners-up spot in kata (fixed forms) at the English Karate Federation National Kyu Grade Championship, held at Sheffield's Ponds Forge.
And 12-year-old Clayton Johnson, who struck gold on his competitive debut last year, also bagged silver for the Cambridge Street club in kumite (fighting).
Hard work in training paid off for Shaw, who has autism, in his category for competitors with learning disabilities.
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Shaw said: "I was nervous beforehand but I also felt excited when we got to the venue as I'd done lots of practice before the competition.
"I concentrated really hard during the kata. I didn't realise I was going to get a medal until Cheyne Phillips (club coach) said I had qualified for the final.
"I was so happy to get a medal – and I was only one flag away from gold.
"I love going to karate and I want to continue until I'm the best at kata!"
The youngster reached the final with an excellent performance of Heian Sandan, which secured him a 3-0 win.
He performed Heian Shodan in the showdown and another solid display of kata saw him only just miss out – by two points to one – on taking the gold.
Shaw, who is now ranked second in England for his category at kata, is looking to build on his success, and he could even have the chance to set his sights on representing Britain on the biggest stage of all – if efforts to get karate instated at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics are successful.
Sami Powell, an instructor at Fix 'n' Kiks, said: "We were all so happy that there was a category for Sullivan at the event.
"This was his chance to shine and he did very well to win a silver medal, which he wore for the rest of the day.
"Karate will hopefully become an Olympic sport in the near future and if Sullivan keeps up his good work and dedication, he'd hopefully be able to compete for the Paralympic GBA karate team."
Fix 'n' Kiks instructor, Sensei Cheyne Phillips, pictured, added: "As a club, we have a close partnership with Humberston Park Special School. We meet a lot of children and young adults and work with the school to try our best to meet their needs and interests, keep them active and help them learn life skills.
"Through working alongside the school, we met Sullivan and explained to him and his parents about what we could offer.
"Sullivan has been training really well ever since. He hasn't missed many sessions, so his techniques are strong and correct.
"Coming to the club has helped his socialising skills – he tells his class-mates and his teachers all about his karate.
"He has been with us for over a year now. We have noticed changes and believe karate has really helped his confidence."