Karate kids celebrate record-breaking year for club
Karate kids from Boldon club are celebrating a record-breaking year after hitting their opponents for six at home and abroad.
Members of the Dokan club – which also runs classes in Whitburn, Sunderland and Cleadon – picked up a staggering 476 medals in 2017.
That included 142 golds, 148 silvers and 186 bronzes, with 11 members winning a national title and five triumphing on the international stage.
The club has 300 members, and chief instructor Kevan Mitchinson admits he could not have dreamt of such a successful year.
He said: “I would never have dared hope my club would achieve as much success as it did in 2017 and I would not have predicted it either.
“I have simply plodded away working to my limits doing karate seven days a week trying to create world-class competitors of the students who have the right level of commitment.
“On a national scale, Dokan Karate Association is tiny, and only really the mother club competes in tournaments.
“The bulk of the 300 members belong to non-competitive clubs, so the fact Dokan can produce 11 English national champions and five international champions who all won overseas is a statistic to be proud of.
“The secret to our success is dedication, friendships and fun.
“No one tries harder to keep their lessons novel, fun and interesting than I do and I also try to link the kids together in a bond of friendship.”
The club’s 2017 English national champions were Eleisha Mitchinson, Olivia Fellows, Eve Palmer, Hannah Nicholson, Katie Hunnam, Anais Errington, Rebecca Bradburn, Marcus Henderson, Emma Snaith, Laura Wanely Haynes and Lola Cassidy.
Meanwhile, Lola Cassidy, Eve Palmer, Olivia Fellows, Emma Snaith, Anais Errington were crowned Swedish international champions, and Eve and Anais also triumphed in the Basel Masters, in Switzerland.
The club also held its own open tournament twice last year in South Shields, and if its success in those were taken into account, its medal tally for the year would be doubled.
Mr Mitchinson added: “In 2018 we plan to build on our success, maintain our position as a leading club and have some good times.”