A LEES karate club is celebrating after more than 20 of its pupils were picked for England.
Kenny Karate, which operates out of Zion Methodist Church, has been successful in finding the next martial arts stars.
A huge 22 of their group, ranging from six to 20-years-old, have all been picked to represent United Karate England in 2020.
That means they will be competing in the UK and Europe over the course of the year after coming through a tough selections process.
Those lucky enough to make it are Thomas Mooney, Layla Mooney and 19-year-old Rosy Whittle, the group’s highest graded student, who has been training with them for 10 years.
The third dan black belt won a silver medal at last year’s world championships in Slovakia.Also making it are: Demi-Leigh Renshaw, Cathyrn Russel, Toby Wrigley, Farrah Connor, Evva Maclennan, Jessica Booth, Charlie Booth, Erin Joyce, Owen Joyce, Lilly Polwin, Luca Renshaw, Luke Stainthorpe, Frankie Birch, Victoria Jackson-Gao, Zach Worthington, Miley Worthington, Miya Burke, Sienna Burke and Alex Wheeler.
Many will be following in the footsteps of Kenny Karate’s chief instructor, Sensei Ashleigh Kenny, who is a fifth dan black belt.
Having started in 1996, she continued training until opening Kenny Karate Academy – which also has sessions in Greenacres – in 2010.
And no-one can turn around and say, ‘Well, what have you done?’ as she has eight British titles, nine English titles, two European Cups and a Commonwealth Open title to her name.
She also represented England at the world championships in Tokyo, Japan as an 18-year-old.
Ashleigh has also had a busy time as she is getting married on Friday, February 14, with Rosy as one of her bridesmaids.
The students will compete at competitions in Walsall and Dudley, West Midlands, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, Manchester and Leigh, Lancashire.
Also on the agenda are the British Open in London, the Malta Open on March 20 and 21, which they are looking to raise £2,122 to send their pupils there, and the WUKF world championships in Poland from July 1-5.
All Kenny Karate’s pupils attend or attended schools in the Oldham area but like many organisations, they are on the lookout for funds to keep up their work.
This would ensure the children have the best chance when competing by getting new equipment and specialist clothing, as well as meeting entry fees and licences, with the Malta Open a particular target.
Kenny Karate hold sessions at Greenacres Church on Tuesdays and Zion Methodist Chapel in Lees on Thursdays from 6.30pm until 7.30pm.
They also hold a Saturday morning session at Zion between 10am and 11am, with higher graded pupils also being able to train for one hour afterwards.
Anyone interested in helping Kenny Karate can contact the academy through its website at www.kennykarate.com
Donations to the fund to send Kenny Karate’s students to the Malta Open can be made at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kennykaratekids