Meet the toughest karate girls of Sunderland and Durham

Four girls from the Kazen Kai Karate Club, who train at the Health & Racquets Club, Doxford International, Sunderland, who are competiing to be European Champions. Pictured l-r are Caitlin Watson, Leah Potts, Danielle Rowell and Gracy Terry.

Four girls from the Kazen Kai Karate Club, who train at the Health & Racquets Club, Doxford International, Sunderland, who are competiing to be European Champions. Pictured l-r are Caitlin Watson, Leah Potts, Danielle Rowell and Gracy Terry.

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MEET the four Wearside girls who are hoping to become the toughest in Europe.

Grace Terry, 10, from Grindon, Caitlin Watson, 11, from Doxford Park and 14-year-olds Danielle Rowell, from Grindon and Leah Potts, from Durham, are hoping to pack a punch at the World Union of Karate Federations European Championships this weekend.

The girls, who hone their skills with dedicated training sessions at Kazen Kai karate club, which is based in the Health and Racquets Club in Doxford Park, impressed contest organisers so much they were asked to apply for the competition.

It means they will compete at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield this weekend against talented karate kids from across the continent.

Sensei Eddie Gillespie, who is a 6th dan in the discipline, said: “I’ve just been made regional coach for the England squad and it was the national coach who recommended that the girls go forward for 
the competition.

“I am tremendously proud of them. They train with me three or five nights a week but they also do their own work outside of that.

“They are always travelling up and down the country for competitions, they have put a lot of work in over the years.”

He added: “They have got so much hunger and will to win, I’ve been teaching for 25 years and I don’t think I’ve seen so much passion in all that time.”