Niamh selected for England karate squad

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A member of Ashington Shotokan Karate Club has been called up to the England squad.

It is the second time that 15-year-old Niamh Duddridge of Pegswood has been selected to represent her country.

This time, she’ll be at the World Shotokan Championships being held in Poland on Saturday and Sunday and being broadcast live on Eurosport.

The 2nd dan black belt’s excellent competition results and attitude to training this year have caught the eye of national squad coach Andy Sherry, a 9th dan.

She has been selected for two disciplines of kata (set forms) and kumite (sparring).

Duddridge has trained with senseis Jill Kelly (6th dan) and Trish Bruce (5th dan) for the past nine years at the Ashington club, which meets on Saturday mornings at the YMCA and during the week at the Josephine Butler Academy.

Her training is supplemented by regular national squad sessions at the Red Triangle Club in Liverpool, plus grand slam competitions between the squads for Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as national competitions.

Kelly said: “Niamh has matured this year as a competitor mentally and physically. She has an excellent sporting attitude, combined with fighting spirit.

“Club members will be watching the championships on the edge of their seats.”

Duddridge has gained a sponsor this year to help with costs, a new karate suit, training gear, new bag, gumshield and fuel costs. These have been donated by businessmen Dave Lyall and Dave Alsop, of Morpeth’s Window-Tech.