Karate star Jack awarded Earby honour

Jack Cooper with his bronze medal from the WUKF world championships.
Jack Cooper with his bronze medal from the WUKF world championships.
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A burgeoning Earby karate star has won a council award after winning a medal at the world championships.

Jack Cooper (16) was presented with Earby Town Council’s Shaw-Greening Award which is handed out annually to young people in the old Earby parish who have excelled in varying fields.

Jack, of Colne Road, battled his way to bronze in the WUKF World Championship in Poland last October and finished fifth in the WUKF European Championships in Belgium in June, only being stopped by a Romanian World Champion.

Next week, the 6ft 4in. fighter is off to Slovenia where he will compete in the England team in the first ever unified karate World Championship which is part of the process of trying to make it an Olympic sport.

It’s the first of three tough assignments for Jack, as the black belt kickboxer is off to Portugal for the World Kickboxing Championships in late October, and will attempt to gain his black belt in karate in November.

His dad John said: “Jack was thrilled to receive the award. In both upcoming tournaments he will be in the 15 to 17 age group category and should have a big chance.

“I just hope he has better luck with the draw than he did in Belgium. The tournament in Slovenia is aiming to make it as an Olympic sort for the Olympics in 2020. Jack’s definitely fighting with a view to competing in the Olympics, that’s the gameplan anyway.

Jack has also been given a small grant from Earby Town Council and local Rotary clubs to help start up the Black Hearts Mixed Martial Arts Club. He holds classes on Thursday evenings between 7-30pm and 10pm.

John added: “Jack’s really chuffed. The club is going from strength to strength. We have about 14 signed up and hopefully will able to put teams out soon.

“We have been really well supported by Earby Town Council and Pendleside and Barnoldswick and Earby Rotary Clubs and it has enabled us to buy mats for the dojo and some body kit too for the youngsters.”