Karate kid Mongan lands national title

MARTIAL ARTS: Ipswich's Joe Mongan is the new English junior karate champion.The 17-year-old former Northgate High School pupil scooped the title at the recent national event staged at Crystal Palace.

IPSWICH'S Joe Mongan is the new English junior karate champion.

The 17-year-old former Northgate High School pupil scooped the title at the recent national event staged at Crystal Palace.

An England international, Mongan beat a string of top opponents to add the national title to the bronze medal he collected at the world junior championships in Greece.

Mongan featured on Sky Sports and among a capacity crowd were nine-times world champ Wayne Otto, legendary England boss Ticky Donavan and, from the world of showbiz, girl band Misteeq.

The lightning head kicks and trademark body punches that served Mongan so well in the world championships were again in evidence as he swept to the English title.

He had four rounds to negotiate and in the final, despite his opponent's long reach, Joe's continual barrage of body punches earned him gold with a 7-4 victory margin.

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Mongan – a member of the Colchester-based Arena Karate Club – is coached by former England international Billy Brennan and is now preparing for international events in Sweden and Italy later this year.

He is also a member of the Sports Performance Academy, based at Fitness First, Ipswich, where he carries out all his strength and conditioning training.

Mongan was willing to stand in for injured colleague Milo Hodge at Crystal Palace and fight for the senior team, but was denied the opportunity because of his age.

Now looking forward to starting a two-year sports science national diploma at Suffolk College, he was disappointed with the governing body's decision not to allow him to team up with two other Ipswich fighters, Under-21 world champ Davin Pack and England international Liam Brennan.

Fitness First manager Costa Andreas said: "We are delighted with Joe's outstanding success and we will continue our support for his forthcoming international competitions."

Mongan paid tribute to coach Billy Brennan for his technical instruction and general support, the English Karate Governing Body (EKGB) and the Sport England Lottery Fund for their financial support.

FOLLOWING Mongan's achievements, the Sports Performance Academy (SPA) is introducing a new competition aimed at Suffolk's senior schools.

The Champions of the Future competition aims to find the overall fittest male and female pupil in Suffolk, with support from Ipswich Borough Council's sports development unit and sponsorship from The Evening Star.

Mongan is also helping out the SPA with this competition as he aims to eventually become involved with sports coaching.

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