WEARSIDE karate kids are aiming for international honours.
A squad of 17 from Boldon’s Dokan club have been selected to represent England at the World Shotokan Karate Unions Championships, which are being held in Kosovo in April.
They won their places following a knockout 2013 which saw the club finish the year with 11 national and international championships, 106 first place awards and a total of 342 medals and trophies.
The team includes Ben Purvis, eight, Becky Purvis, 13, Megan Purvis, 11, Grace King, nine, Maddison Taylor, seven, Tammy Proctor, 12, and Katie Hunnam, all of Sunderland.
Also in the team are Eleisha Mitchinson, 11, Lola Cassidy, nine, Eve Palmer, nine, Holly Stoner, 15, Sadie Stoner, 11, and Hannah Nicholson, 12, all of East Boldon; Simone Stewart, 11, of West Boldon; Olivia Fellows, eight, from Cleadon and Alex Steadman, 12, and Aiden Young, 13, both of South Shields.
The Dokan club has more than 150 youngsters training in Boldon, Whitburn and Sunderland.
Chief instructor, Kevan Mitchinson, said: “They are a really dedicated bunch of youngsters and they are getting the rewards for all their hard work in training.
“This trip to a world championship will be great experience for them all.
“This is already a very busy year for the Dokan squad as we have competitions to attend at Penrith, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Hartlepool, Glasgow and Somerset - all before the end of June.”
He added: “To have such a large number going to an international championship means that we are now, also, hastily fund-raising to supplement the cost of flights and entries.”
The Dokan team have already made a winning start to the year.
At the recent Kyu Grade National Championships in Sheffield they won 11 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze medals.
That means the club now has eight new national champions for 2014 - Eve Palmer and Lola Cassidy both aged nine, Milly Pomfret and Simone Stewart, both 11, and 12-year-old Alex Steadman, all from South Tyneside, and Sunderland youngsters Tammy Proctor, 11, and Chloe Telford and Grace King, both nine.
Mr Mitchinson added: “The whole club performed brilliantly winning as many kata categories as kumite and they are grabbing the attention of the England coaches, who tend to be from down south.
“There were a lot of compliments were paid about the quality of the squad and that was very pleasing to hear.”
Any business which is interested in sponsoring the club or helping with the trip to Kosovo can email Mr Mitchinson at email@example.com or call him on 0793 913 0411
For information on club activities, go to www.dokan.co.uk.