Tia Steele, 13,   pictured with head instructor Barry Potts at the Northern Rivers Shukokai Karate Dojo. INSET: Kane Williams, Emily Yee, Tia Steele & Imogen Crampton at the Melbourne martial arts competition last month.
Tia Steele, 13, pictured with head instructor Barry Potts at the Northern Rivers Shukokai Karate Dojo. INSET: Kane Williams, Emily Yee, Tia Steele & Imogen Crampton at the Melbourne martial arts competition last month. Northern Rivers Shukokai Karate

Karate athlete wins dual national titles against Australia's best

KICKING, punching and blocking her way across the dojo, teenage karate sensation Tia Steele is now a double national champion.

The Year 8 Ballina High student impressed the judges after a stellar performance at the National All Styles Martial Arts, National Titles Tournament held in Melbourne last month.

Tia took out the National Champion 12-14yrs 10th to 6th Kyu Kata Division and also collected a gold when she and Imogen Crampton, 14, also from the Northern Rivers club, competed in the Queensland State versus State Point Sparring (12-14 years).

Kane Williams, Emily Yee, Tia Steele & Imogen Crampton.
Kane Williams, Emily Yee, Tia Steele & Imogen Crampton. Contributed

Tia has only been practising karate for 18 months but already has Olympic gold in her sights.

The green belt 6th kyu ranking student said she really enjoyed her twice weekly training sessions.

"We had extra training almost every day ... ahead of the national titles,” she said.

"I have become a lot fitter and energetic since taking up karate and I want to thank (sensei) Barry Potts for his training.”

Tia said there was no doubt in her mind that she would aim much higher.

"I'd like to compete at the Olympics,” she said.

Mr Potts said four of his students competed in Kata, Team Kata and Kumite events at the tournament, which is the largest martial arts tournament in the southern hemisphere.

"Four students brought home gold, silver and bronze trophies (and) whilst not everyone won a trophy, all students performed with great confidence and showed great sportsmanship towards other competitors,” he said

Mr Potts said Emily Yee, 17, was also a member of the team for State versus State Point Sparring (15-17yrs Division), which won Silver, losing to Victoria in a very close round.

"The fourth member of our squad, Kane Williams, 11, competed in Individual Kata and Kumite,” Mr Potts said.

"Unfortunately he didn't place in either event, but considering he was up against more experienced competitors he can hold his head up high.”

Mr Potts said he is immensely proud of the students, whom he said deserved success.



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