Ryan is European karate champion

IPSWICH'S Ryan Jay is the new U57kg European Karate Champion.

IPSWICH'S Ryan Jay is the new U57kg European Karate Champion.

The 16-year-old Kesgrave High School pupil was the best performer and only English gold medal winner in the championships which were held in Paris.

It was by far the best result for the English team that travelled to France and a huge credit to Jay, while another Ipswich student, Charlotte Platts was narrowly beaten the over 59kg repechage in the women's event.

Both fighters are students at the Mick Blackwell Academy in Ipswich and Jay's efforts were the highlight of the week for England, something Mick Blackwell, an 8th Dan, admits.

“It was Ryan's first time in the England squad and apart from anything else to be the only fighter to win gold is a huge tribute to him,” Mick said.

“He has won loads of tournaments locally and nationally and been English champ three times already. So he is used to winning.

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“But fighting abroad at this level is very different and a lot of credit for this success must go to his parents who have travelled with him to various competitions in Europe in the past few years.

“I have no doubt that experience contributed to his victory.”

And Blackwell said Jay was a credit to himself.

“Ryan never misses a training session, helps me with teaching and is a likeable lad. He deserves his success.”

After beating a Spanish opponent in round one, Jay beat a Slovenian and Hungarian fighter on his way to the final.

After going behind to his Greek opponent in the final, Jay stormed through to win and became European Champion with an 8-2 victory.

Platts went out in the first round to an eventual finalist, which gave her another chance in the repechage.

After winning her first match, she eventually lost in extra-time to a Danish opponent and consequently was out of the medals.

Both fighters received a warm welcome back at the Blackwell Academy where they train most evenings.

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