POWER-PUNCHING Bailey Baker smashed his way to a silver medal as Europe’s best competed in the Scottish International Karate Open.
The 15-year-old headed to the tournament at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium full of confidence after securing a bronze the previous week in the English Championships.
He didn’t disappoint – battling his way through to the final in the under 70kg, 14-15 years category.
But his Danish opponent proved too experienced and Bailey, from Witherwack, Sunderland, was forced to concede too many warnings for holdings and eventually lost the bout.
He was disappointed not to have won gold, but it was another step in the right direction.
Hylton Red House Academy pupil Bailey, who trains at Ishinryu Karate Club at East Durham College in Peterlee, said: “I was annoyed with myself for taking so many warnings.
“He was a really cagey fighter, and I felt myself doing a lot of chasing. Ultimately, he was a bit more experienced than me, and it showed in the end.
“I was happy to get a silver in an international event, but I was still a little disappointed.
“I know I’ve just got to keep working harder and harder.”
Bailey is on a high after recent successes, including being selected for the England A squad.
Just six days before Sunday’s international, he picked up a bronze at the English Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge arena.
Bailey took a heavy kick in the face in his quarter-final bout.
Medics would not allow him to continue the bout, which saw his opponent disqualified – meaning he missed out on a semi-final place.
But he recovered for the fight-off for bronze and battled back for third spot.
Coach Gavin Foster, a 4th Dan and North of England regional coach, added: “Bailey is going from strength to strength.
“This was another terrific performance from him, and he’s certainly getting noticed.
“But he’s still got a lot of hard work to do, and we are keeping his feet firmly on the ground.”
For more about the club, call Gavin on 07708 098 691.