A UNIVERSITY of Worcester student who represented England at the European Karate Championships has returned with a silver medal.
Sam Thomas, who has just completed her degree in Physical Education and English at the university, travelled to Frankfurt to compete in the Women’s Individual Kata event.
Kata is a non-combat form of karate in which competitors perform patterns of karate movements and are marked on their power, speed and style.
After honing her skills in martial arts since the age of four, the 21-year-old from Kidderminster, now trains six times a week and is focusing on the Premier International Open in Aliba, Spain in October.
She said: “The competition was brilliant. There were 12 of us in the squad and six people got places. As it was our first international competition, we thought we would just go, compete and enjoy our time there. I really didn’t expect it, the standard was amazing.
“I love meeting new people from different clubs, and the camaraderie is fantastic. Even though we know we may end up fighting each other, everyone is still really supportive and friendly.”
Sam is due to graduate from the University of Worcester this autumn and has a place secured on a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Worcester for next year, to train as a Primary School teacher. She is hoping to be able to take her passion for karate in to the classroom.
She said: “Talent is important, but I think the best martial artists are those who train really hard, never miss a lesson, and commit themselves fully. If they don’t win, they come back harder and try again. Those are the ones that succeed, and that’s the way I try and approach the sport.
“I love teaching. I coach two days a week at my dojo, Young Gloves in Kidderminster, and I really enjoy that. The enthusiasm of the students, and passing on my passion to them. They call me ‘Sensei Sam’.
“I’d like to teach karate in schools, only light contact of course. It’s so good for young people. Karate is usually something new in schools, it’s also great for building confidence and self-esteem, which are so important at a young age.”
Sam was also selected for the World Championship competition in Orlando in September and is hoping to raise funds for the trip.