Earby teenager going for gold

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An Earby teenager is hoping to fight his way to the top when he goes for gold in the Karate European Championship.

Sixteen-year-old Jack Cooper, of Colne Road, will travel to Herstal in Belgium in June to compete against the continent’s best in the World Union of Karate-Do Federations European Championship event.

Jack Cooper with a selection of his trophies and medals that he has won in Karate and Kickboxing.

Jack Cooper with a selection of his trophies and medals that he has won in Karate and Kickboxing.

The imposing 6ft 4in. apprentice electrician, who is working for his dad John, will be gunning for gold this time after bagging a bronze at the World Championship in Szczecin in Poland in October.

Brown belt Jack, who is taking his black belt exam this year, has been putting the practice in to achieve his aims, training up to 10 hours a week to sharpen his skills, including calling on former Polish competitor Jacek Kobylecki since September.

John said: “He has been working really hard. I’m quite confident he can do well in Belgium.

“It’s a knockout format so Jack will need to be ready. If you get a top opponent in the first round you can be knocked out of the tournament in 30 seconds.

“There are so many people to thank for getting Jack to where he is; Ian Spence at Skipton Karate Club where Jack has been going since he was 11, Paul Graham the England Coach who was in his corner in Poland and personal trainer Jacek for his work.”

Jack has already had a successful start to the karate season, winning the Amateur Martial Arts Association Open Championship in Sheffield as well two golds in two categories at the AMA’s North East Championship and a second and third in the North West tournament.

In July, Jack may also be travelling to Portugal to compete in the World Kickboxing Championship after winning a silver medal in the European Championship in Manchester.

The teenager is hoping to have more one-to-one sessions with veteran Italian and former nine-time Kickboxing World Champion Rinaldo Severessa to test himself ahead of the tournament.