Gemma and Niamh selected to represent GB at European Shotokan Karate Championship

Ashington Karate Club's Gemma Gibson and Niamh Duddridge, who will represent Great Britain at the European Shotokan Karate Championships.
Ashington Karate Club's Gemma Gibson and Niamh Duddridge, who will represent Great Britain at the European Shotokan Karate Championships.
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Two members of Ashington Karate Club have been selected to represent Great Britain at next month’s European Shotokan Karate Championship.

Under-16 girls Gemma Gibson and Niamh Duddridge will take part in the competition in Zurich between November 28 and 30.

So far this year the pair have won four winners medals between them

Duddridge won the National Championships in May and also the Youth Championships, while Gibson won the Liverpool Open and the Shotokan Cup.

Duddridge said: “I’m really happy and I didn’t expect it. I was really chuffed with myself.

“Having Gemma there as well is great and it means I will have someone else there as a friend from Ashington Karate Club.”

Gibson added: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m really excited and this will be excellent experience.

“We were in Liverpool last year for the World Championships but just watching and that was a great experience.

“Now we have the chance to compete in a similar competition ourselves.

“Having Niamh there will make it easier for me and I’m really excited. It’s a trip to Zurich as well which is amazing.”

The pair have met three times in finals this year.

Their Sensei Jill Kelly, who is the second highest ranked female in the KUGB as a black belt sixth Dan, is proud of the pair and she knows the girls can go out there and do themselves proud.

She said: “This is no holiday for the girls as this is a really tough competition, and once they get there the training will be intense.

“There is no pressure on them in their first international to medal, but I know they will both give their best on the day.

“The category they are in is very talented anyway, so just to qualify is an achievement in itself.

“We are delighted with them, and it is so rewarding to have two students who work as hard as they do.

“They both have really great, supportive parents too, who travel with them and help them get to all of these competitions.

“The girls are following the tradition of this really competitive karate club.”

Anybody who may be interested in starting karate can find more details about the club at www.ashingtonshotokankarate.co.uk