Heidi hits karate heights

Karate black belt Heidi Jay completed a rare achievement recently by winning medals in two different age categories at the same tournament.

By Stuart Watson

Karate black belt Heidi Jay completed a rare achievement recently by winning medals in two different age categories at the same tournament.

Going into the first day of competition at the prestigious English Karate Federation (EKF) National Championships in Sheffield, Jay was 13 years-old and duly entered the 12-13 year-old section.

Competing in the over 45kg category, Jay won the gold medal, before also helping the English Korean Karate Association (EKKA) girls' team claim gold in the 10-13 years team competition.

By chance, the following day saw Jay enjoy her 14th birthday and become eligible to compete in a higher age category.

Entering the 14-15 year-old section, Jay managed to win bronze in the under 50kg individual section and was also part of the EKKA girls' 14-15 years team that took gold.

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Jay's father Clive said: “We realised a couple of months before the competition that her birthday would fall on the second day so we asked the officials from the association whether she could switch age categories half way through and they agreed.

“Everyone there couldn't believe it that she was entering both categories. When we explained it was her birthday they said they had never heard of someone doing it before.”

Jay trains at the Mick Blackwell Martial Arts Academy alongside her 15 year-old brother Ryan in Ipswich. Blackwell said: “It was amazing how her birthday fell so that she could do it. I've never known anyone to do and I shouldn't think we'll see it again.

“Heidi is a very dedicated competitor who has travelled all over Europe in recent years to enter various events.

“The very fact that she has won a bronze medal in her first ever 14-15 years competition bodes well for the future because she is only going to get better.

“I have no doubt at all that Heidi and brother are England squad members in waiting. They have already trained with the squad and it is now just a case of them waiting until they are 16 so that they can have official trials.”

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