HE may be just a teenager, but black belt Jamie O’Donnell still packs a wallop.
The 13-year-old, from Town End Farm, Sunderland, has already won 37 medals at both regional and national Karate competitions.
The pupil at Castle View Enterprise Academy, who was just six when he won his first major award, manages to fit four training sessions a week into his busy school and study timetable.
Now the black belt, who is preparing to take his 1st Dan, has been given the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to fight with the Great Britain team in Japan.
Proud mum Audrey Colling, 33, said: “It’s such a big achievement. He’s done fantastically well to get into the team.
“Although he’s been doing it for quite a long time, there was a lot of competition to get into the team. We’re all so proud of him.”
However, the family are struggling to raise the necessary £1,500 to £2,000 to cover travelling and accommodation expenses on the trip, which will see Jamie take on some of the best martial arts experts from around the world.
“It is a lot of money to raise,” said mum-of-three Audrey.
“We’ve put in for grants, but haven’t heard anything back yet.
“We’ve organised a couple of fund-raisers and we’ve been given tremendous support by his school.
“We just want to make sure he can take part in the competition.
“We’re hoping that if there is anyone out there who can help, any businesses or individuals, then they will get in touch with us.
“Next time it comes round, he may be too old to take part.
“This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him.”
If the appeal is successful, Jamie, who competes in Go-Kan-Ryu bouts, will travel to the Far East in the coming months with three fellow local members of the national team.
“Karate means the world to me,” he said. “The competition will be amazing.”
To make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.