WEARSIDE’S Bailey Baker battled his way to gold at the British International Open and vowed to push for karate world medal glory.
Bailey fought hard for the honour at the event at the Emirates stadium in Glasgow at the weekend.
It was a huge statement as the 15-year-old, from Castle Mead, near Witherwack, continues his preparation for the junior world championships in Spain in November.
Bailey, who trains at East Durham Ishinryu karate club at Peterlee’s East Durham College, said it was just the start.
The Red House Academy pupil said: “I felt there was a little bit more pressure on my shoulders this time after being selected for the England squad to go to the worlds, and I knew I had to get that win.
“I was a bit tense in my early fights and didn’t feel I was at my best, but I did enough to make the final.
“I’m in the middle of my training preparation for Spain, so I know I’ll be a lot sharper come November.
“But despite that, I still felt comfortable taking gold, and now I’m even more determined to be among the medals at the world championships.”
Bailey took the honours in the cadet, 14-15, under-70kg category – the same weight he will take to the mat at in Spain.
Instructor and Northern England regional coach Gavin Foster said: “It was a great win for Bailey, considering he did have to get that win – but that’s the expectation at this level.
“His preparation is going to plan, and I’m confident he will be more than ready come November.”
Bailey is still hoping to secure sponsorship. Anyone who can help can contact Gavin on 07708 098691. Anyone interested in karate can also contact the same number.