Fight trio get ready to fly the flag

THREE young fighters from Ipswich have been selected to represent England in karate's Junior European Championships next year.

Stuart Watson

THREE young fighters from Ipswich have been selected to represent England in karate's Junior European Championships next year.

Chloe Cooper, 13, Ryan Jay, 15, and Charlotte Platts, 16, have all been notified of their place on the national squad, which will compete in Paris next February, following a series of selection camps.

Cooper, who trains under England international Davin Pack at Quest Academy, is the youngest competitor to have ever made the 14/15 years age group of the 20-strong squad.

The 13-year-olds selection comes after she won both the British and English Championships in her age group this year.

Pack, who himself leaves for the World Championships in Japan next week, said: “Obviously with me still fighting at the top level I am able to pass on to my students what is required on the international circuit.

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“Chloe has taken everything on board and she has done really well to be selected, but the hard work starts now. Getting selected is one thing, but now she has got to concentrate on going out there and winning a medal.”

Ipswich's other two competitors come from the Mick Blackwell Academy. Blackwell said: “They are both really good competitors.

“Ryan has been with me since he was five-years-old. He has travelled all over Europe with his mum, dad and sister in order to get as much top-level experience as possible, but this is the first time he has been called into the England team.

“He has been English and British champion three times now so it is a deserved call up.”

Blackwell added: “Charlotte is a bit different in that she has been with me for a shorter time and, although she has mainly only been competing locally, she has been beating some international fighters.

“Both their call-ups are very impressive because the selectors will only include the fighters who at their very best. I have got high hopes for them both.”

The fighters are now looking for sponsorship ahead of their trip to France. The Mick Blackwell Academy can be contacted on 01473 256500, while The Quest Academy can be reached on 288898.