Year 12 student, Ellie Greenhalgh, enjoyed tremendous success, at the recent English Karate Council National Championships, comfortably taking gold in each of her two fighting categories.
Ellie, a current black belt (1st Dan), was only one of three fighters selected by her club, The Seidokan Karate Academy in Keighley, to represent the Sport England squad at the championship, which was held at the renowned Ponds Forge International Sports Arena in Sheffield.
The national event, organised by the newly formed Council, provided an opportunity for the very best exponents of each group to meet in competition to find the true National Champions in each discipline and division.
With a limited number of entries allowed from each of the member bodies, it attracted the finest talent from across the country, with around 200 karatekas taking part this year – many of them association squad members and national and International champions.
Even when pitted against the very elite, Ellie held her own, and confidently secured gold in both the under-18 years open-weight ippon and the under 55 kilo fighting divisions.
She first showed an interest in the sport at the tender age of 4 and started training with Jeff Bottomley, who still trains her today. As a determined and confident youngster, she started competing in local championships at the age of 11 and quickly progressed to national level.
In 2011 she was noticed by the Head of the England team, Ian Cuthberts, and offered to try out for the under 18’s England squad. A gruelling week-long trial at Loughborough University ensued, involving a daily four-hour round trip each day, with Ellie was finally selected to represent her country with a coveted place on the squad.
Her first taste of international competition at the International Karate Union World Championship for under 18’s, held in Venice at the end of the year, provided Ellie with the opportunity to firmly secure her place on the squad, with a bronze, silver and gold medal earned across three events.
Although Karate is yet to be included in the Olympics, the sport still holds a World and European Championships with Ellie tipped for continued success on the international stage.
In November 2014, she represented the Sport England squad at the International Karate Union European Under-21 championships, held at the University of East London. Here she scored a hat-trick in the medal stakes. She was second in the under-18 under-55kg fighting, won gold in the under-18 open-weight ippon fighting and was part of the female Karate Sport England team that won a gold medal.
Club instructor Jeff Bottomley said: ‘I am looking forward to coaching Ellie’s transition from the youth stage into the adult section, where I am confident she will repeat her previous success. Hopefully, by this time, the sport will be recognised by the Olympic Committee and Ellie can represent her country at the highest level’.
Ellie now works with the Keighley club to deliver a weekly schools’ Karate programme at Beckfort School in Bingley.
The Seidokan Karate Club is based on Greengate Road in Keighley – They are always looking for new members.