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WATCH: Shropshire's karate kid is UK's youngest black belt

By Rory Smith | Telford | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Shropshire's own karate kid has been named as the youngest black belt in a karate affiliation across the whole of the UK.

Billy Jones is nine-years-old and has already received praise from the world's top instructors including Great Britain's karate coach.

The black belt, from Telford, is the youngest black belt in Wado Kia, the style of karate Billy's club is affiliated to, across the whole of the UK.

He was awarded the grade of 1st Dan at a training and grading session by 8th Dan, Senseis Kaunaki Sakagami and GB coach and 7th Dan, Peter May.

Watch Billy in action:

Nine year old black belt sets sights on Olympics

Training at Shropshire Wado Ryu Club, in Rodington, Billy started learning the martial art at the tender age of five-years-old and was able to continue training after being awarded a grant from Telford & Wrekin Council.

Now, the budding karate kid hopes to one day compete in the Olympics.

Tom Currie, Shropshire Wado Ryu Club secretary, said the nine-year-old shows all the signs of a future champion.

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"It's an extraordinary achievement," he said.

"Even the instructors said they were not at that level at his age. He's an exciting prospect who Senseis Kaunaki Sakagami confirmed was the youngest black belt in our affiliation across the UK, possibly even internationally.

"Now Billy will continue to work towards his 2nd Dan status and the club will look to support him across all possible competitions.

"We have had champions pass through our ranks at the club before and we no doubt see champion attributes in him."

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Billy Jones, right, battles with Luke Morris

The 2020 Olympic games, being held in Japan, will feature karate for the first time as the hosting country's national sport.

"Although he won't be old enough to compete in 2020, he'll certainly be in a very strong position to compete in the future once he gains exposure and further training," he added.

Also acknowledged at the training and grading session were Andrew Dauncey, 30, Michael Wynne, 43 and Patrick Casteleyn, 54, who all achieved 1st Dan – along with Mark Lewis, 41, who was awarded 2nd Dan.

The club secretary added: "A special mention should also be made for Patrick Casteleyn for his incredible achievement. After contending with cancer within the last year, he has made an amazing recovery to attain his first black belt."

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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