British Karate title opens World door for James
Belfast karate ace James Brunton claimed an impressive victory in the British Federation Four Nations Championship, which could prove a launching pad to World Championship glory.
Securing gold in the prestigious Senior Kumite category, the reigning British champion (28) added to the string of titles he has amassed since joining the international circuit over 16 years ago.
Pal Craig Ryan, from Lisburn, took bronze in the 68kg category.
Winning two championship titles in the senior events at the Scottish International Open in Edinburgh last month, Brunton showed why he is among the best, beating elite athletes from all over Europe and the United States to earn a gold medal in the 84kg weight category before stepping up to the prestigious open event to take his second gold.
The event was a prequel to the European Championships in Tempere and as Northern Ireland's sole competitor in Finland, Brunton's confidence was high after his recent victories but competition proved exceptionally strong and he lost his second round contest despite a quality performance.
Brunton is coached by his father Oliver at Wado-Kai Headquarters, 35 College Street, Belfast (telephone 02890 616453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Oliver's ultimate ambition would be to see James and Craig – who he also coaches – compete in the Olympics.
Karate has ambitions of becoming an Olympic sport but Oliver accepts that the competition to achieve that accolade is fierce.
"It would mean so much to karate to make it into the Olympics but there are a lot of sports in a similar situation," he explained.
"If karate was an Olympic sport it would encourage even more kids to become involved, although karate is already very popular among youngsters."
And he is confident James and Craig will enjoy more success.
"James has plenty of competitions coming up and particularly has his eye on the World Championship in Germany in November and next year's Europeans in Azerbaijan," said Oliver, who is about to jet off to Japan.
"I go over every year to work on techniques," he said.