27 January 2021
BBC Radio Surrey interviewed Year 8 sport scholar Lea live on the breakfast programme on Saturday 23 January about the online karate training, hard work and dedication that have seen her rise up the rankings to become second in the world in her age category. Presenter James Cannon congratulated Lea on this fantastic achievement and in an excellent interview they talked about how this had come about.
If you have access to BBC Sounds, Lea’s interview should be available for a few weeks (scroll to approximately 2:52:30 on Breakfast on BBC Radio Surrey 23/1/21) but Lea has also written the following article about her fantastic recent achievements in the world of karate.
Lea, Year 8
"Around the end of April 2020, the karate world started to get itself organised to be able to operate during the pandemic. I started to train online with my club (Seikatsu Kai UK), Sensei (Jonathan Mottram) and teammates, and soon after this, online seminars started, led by some of the best karate athletes in the world. I trained with several world champions and also with the Pan-American number 1, Ariel Torres. My parents contacted him and in June, I started four weeks of intensive training with him. This improved my general strength and technique. Since then I have been training online with him weekly (he is based in Miami) and this and the training with my club have helped me gain confidence.
The worldwide online competitions started in May but for various reasons my club started to compete at the end of August. I started really low in the rankings but I took part in lots of online competitions, progressing each time. In November I reached the top 10 in my age group and my continued training and more competitions saw me reach the ranking of second in the world in my age category in mid-December. Dedication, commitment and enthusiasm made me go through this crazy period and helped me to reach this ranking.
I have continued to train and compete in 2021 and since the beginning of the year I have won one gold and three bronze medals in different age groups and these additional points have helped reinforce my second place ranking. Since I started to compete online I have also been competing in the age groups U15 and U16 and I am ranked sixth in the world in both categories. I am also the first British female athlete in all of these categories.
I hope to come back to the mats for live competitions as soon as possible, but I will not stop competing online against athletes everywhere in the world."