Burley girl, 10, rewarded for dedication to her sport
9:20am Monday 22nd December 2008
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By Andrea Hardaker »
Karate kid Katy Dalzell has become one of the youngest black belts in the country – at the age of ten.
Katy, a pupil at Burley Woodhead CE Primary School, has practised the martial art since she was four years old.
Her dedication and commitment have seen her rise up through the grades and now she has achieved one of the highest accolades in her sport after competing against opponents four or five years her senior.
Katy trains with expert and former world champion Paul Newby, head coach at the Olympik Dream Gym in Crosshills. Paul specialises in sport karate which sees his pupils competing in tournaments in a bid to win world titles.
He said: “Katy is amazing. You don’t see many black belts at that age. When I trained I was one of the youngest in the country and I was 12! She is very dedicated and focused and it has really paid off.”
Katy, who lives in Burley-in-Wharfedale, started training with Paul four or five years ago. Keen to learn, she attended classes three times a week, rarely missing a session.
Paul said: “She didn’t particularly stand out right away but she was very flexible and she turned up regularly, full of enthusiasm. She is at an age where some children lose interest in the art but Katy kept on going.
“She took part in regular tournaments and did very well and gradually we really began to see that hard work pay off. Now she is definitely one of our best fighters.”
In order to gain her black belt, Katy competed against 15 and 16-year-olds.
Paul said: “In the section she is in at the moment, she has to compete against 12-year-olds. Two years is a big difference at that age and she is only little but she is very capable of handling herself against them.
“To get her black belt she had to do a lot of sparring and had to be extremely fit. She also had to fight against kids who were a lot older than her but she just took it in her stride. She had to win four or five fights in total and she did.
“We are very proud of her.”
Last year Katy’s achievements were marked at the club when she was crowned sportsperson of the Year at the age of nine. Her technique is so impressive that Paul put a clip of her fighting on the internet video sharing network YouTube.The clip shows little Katy in action on stage showing off her skills to a large audience.
Now Paul was hoping to introduce the youngster to nine times world champion and England coach Wayne Otto, OBE, who was due to visit the club recently.
Between 1988 and 2001 Otto dominated the world of karate and led a team of fighters, including Paul, which took Great Britain from also-rans to champions of the world.
Paul said:”I can’t wait for Wayne to see Katy fight. I have always said that if ever karate gets to the Olympics, Katy would be the one to compete and I am certain she will be fighting for England.”
The headteacher at Burley Woodhead Primary School, Julie Speight, said she was amazed at Katy’s achievements.
She said: “We have been following Katy’s progress right the way through school and every time she goes up a grade she shows her medals at assembly. She has done incredibly well, and it is quite an achievement for a little girl of her age. We are all very proud of her indeed.”