Sunderland teenager takes medals at international karate competition

A Wearside teenager is celebrating success after taking honours at an international karate competition.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 5:00 am
Matthew Gibson when he competed in European Shotokan Karate Championships held in Nis, Serbia.
Matthew Gibson when he competed in European Shotokan Karate Championships held in Nis, Serbia.

Matthew Gibson, 17, from Sunderland, has just returned home from The European Shotokan Karate Championships held in Nis, Serbia, having gained two silver medals.

Matthew has been training with Sunderland-based club Sendai Kushiro Karate since he was six-years-old and has achieved various regional, national and international titles in the sport.

Matthew Gibson when he competed in European Shotokan Karate Championships held in Nis, Serbia.

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The latest achievements were while competing at the European Championships in Serbia.

After being selected for the KUGB England squad in January, Matthew’s training, competition performances and results were being closely monitored throughout the year by national squad coaches Sensei Sherry, 9th Dan and Sensei Frank Brennan, 8th Dan.

His hard work and dedication paid off when he was selected for the England Team as the sole representative to compete in the Cadet Male Kata (set form) event for the European Championships.

The event welcomed over 20 nations and over 400 competitors who had all been carefully selected by their coaches.

Matthew Gibson, far left, with other members of the KUGB England squad.

Matthew was competing in a very tough event, with some of his opponents training as heavily funded or full time athletes.

After several elimination rounds against some excellent competitors Matthew made the cut for the final alongside three other competitors, Gabov and Fazly from Russia and Lemos from Portugal.

The final was very intense with each competitor performing their favourite Kata.

Matthew’s performance was enjoyed by the audience and judges alike.

After the scores were given to each competitor Matthew was awarded second place and the Silver medal.

Matthew was also selected to compete in two further events, individual Kumite (free fighting) and the Team Kumite.

Although a strong performance in his individual Kumite and winning the first round decisively he was beaten in the second round by and very fast competitor.

The team event was next and alongside team mates Luciano Zanuni, Jade Stapeton-Smith, both from Leeds, and Niall Gilligan, from Solihull, the team performed excellently, making the finals against a very strong Russian team.

The matches were exactly level after each competitor had fought so each team put forward one competitor to fight again, unfortunately, the Russian competitor won and England had to settle for a very credible silver medal.

John Bruce, Matthew’s club coach, said: “Matthew has worked hard all year and is continuously developing, he is a great role model and deserves his achievements at the recent event.”

Matthew is now looking forward to continuing his development during 2019.

Sendai Kushiro Karate teaches classes throughout Sunderland and Durham to Children and Adults.

New members are always welcome and should visit their website at for more information.