Karate kid Joel hits world top three

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RISING Shotokan karate star Joel Barker (11) has become world number three at his age to add to his three British titles.

The Joseph Whittaker year seven student his back from the Ozawa World Karate Championships in Las Vegas where he represented England in three categories for 10-12 year olds, the first being Individual Kata (demonstration) which is not an area he likes to compete in but managed an overall score of 7.3 out of a possible 8.

He finished 12th in this event out of 46 contestants.

In his strongest event, Kumite, he gained a silver in the Three Person Team - they only missed out on gold by a half point – and then went on to win a bronze medal in the Individual Kumite.

No one else in the England team achieved two medals and Joel fought his socks off in both his Kumite events against some of the best fighting talent in the world.

He was the smallest contestant in his category by a long way but beat in his fights opponents from Russia, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine, Italy, America, South Africa, Austria, Turkey and Uruguay.

The U13 England team now have a world Kumite ranking of number two while Joel has an individual ranking of number three Kumite fighter in the world and number one in England for his age category.

A black belt 1st Dan in Shotokan karate, trained by Aidan Trimble 7th Dan, Joel won gold in Kumite at the EKA (English Karate Association) National Championships last month at the Sheffield Institute of Sport.

He was in the 10-12yr old Kumite (fighting) category and won all his rounds by knockout (inside time).

Joel currently holds three gold British national championship titles, the other two being the JKS (Japanese Karate Shotokan) and the FSK (Federation of Shotokan Karate).