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A young Trent College karate fighter already has his eye on qualifying for next year’s World Championships in Japan after landing his first European Championship crown earlier this month.
Matthew Salmon, 11, claimed double medalware at the event in Reading as he landed not only the gold medal in the individual kumite discipline but won bronze in the individual kata discipline too.
The youngster, who lives in East Leake and trains at the Simon Coope Karate Club (Midland Karate Association) in Leicestershire two to three times a week, was representing Wadokai England Karate at the Europeans, where 500 athletes battled it out for the medals across the various categories and age-groups.
Kumite, the category in which Matthew is now European champion in his age and height category, is fighting or sparring. Kata, meanwhile, is choreographed patterns of karate moves and a way of practicing at full power without hurting anyone.
Matthew, who first started doing karate aged just four, previously competed at a World Championships under a different karate association rules in 2013, narrowly missing out on a medal in kata finishing fifth. Now all eyes are on Japan.
Dad Andy explains: “There are various styles of karate and Wadokai is an association practicing the Wado-Ryu style of karate. Wado-Ryu means ‘way of peace’ and has one of the largest number of practitioners worldwide.
“Matthew moved across to Wadokai about a year ago and has had to learn some differences in kata moves and basics but managed to be selected to represent England in this European Championships in both kata and kumite.
“As well as his sessions with Simon Coope, Matthew attends monthly Wadokai England Karate Squad training monthly and will continue with this as he is hoping to be selected to represent Wadokai England in the World Championships, the selections for which are will be early next year.”
Matthew won his first gold medal aged six, becoming 2010 WIKF British Champion in his age group for kata. He is now a Junior 2nd Dan, passing his first black belt grading aged nine in December 2012 and his 2nd Dan in June 2014, aged 10.
Mum Sharon reveals Matthew had one very specific ambition he wanted to achieve before he started at Trent in September.
She added: “His goal was to become a 2nd Dan before he left primary school and he managed to do that in June this year, so he was delighted! He has already received encouragement and praise for his achievements from his classmates and teachers at Trent College and hopes to have plenty more success to celebrate during his time at the school.”
David Mitchell, Head of Year 7 Transition at Trent College, added: "We are very proud of Matthew’s fantastic achievements. Although we knew he was very good at karate, we had not realised just how good.
"He is a very modest boy and I think very few of the other Year 7s knew anything about his success until he was presented with his medals in our year group assembly. He is also fully involved in other aspects of Trent life, for example singing in the choir. We shall obviously be following his progress in the years to come with interest."