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Yarmouth martial arts team could make up a quarter of Team GB at World Games

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:16 21 February 2016

A karate team from Gorleston are off to South Africa to represent Great Britain in a tournament.

Picture: James Bass

A karate team from Gorleston are off to South Africa to represent Great Britain in a tournament. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

A karate team from Great Yarmouth is hoping to make up a quarter of Team GB World Martial Arts Games in South Africa.

The competitors

Ruby Moore, 8

Lily Steward, 9

Tay Emmerson, 11

Elizabeth Smith, 12

Harvey Horler-Seaton, 16

Cassie Hill, 18

Tracy Pillar, 51

Keith Nixon, 54

Jeanette Emmerson, 44

Sara Smith, 46

The ten enthusiasts from the Chinto Karate Group are set to take part in the contest in October this year.

After competing at the National Martial Arts Committee games held in Norwich’s UEA Sportspark, 18 competitors from the Yarmouth-based club finished on the podium and qualified for Team GB.

Ten of them are now attempting to raise the funds needed to travel to Johannesburg, and the club is organising monthly fund-raising activities to help pay for the travel expenses.

Tracy Pillar, the Sensei of the group, which is Japanese for teacher, has been running it since 1999 and has trained 46 black belts in her time.

The 51-year-old, who lives in Collingwood Road, added: “Those in Team GB train four or five times a week. I am so lucky to have the students I do now as they are so dedicated. “They are all excited about South Africa, but also stressed about getting the money together, as they are so eager to get there.

“It is an unreal experience to take part in the World Games, especially for the children. It gives them confidence and they can deal with other situations in life with their martial art skills.”

Chris Hemstock, the director of Team GB, said that Tracy’s club is particularly successful.

“The world games is a very prestigious event. As karate is not yet an Olympic sport it is the closest these competitors are going to get to that.” Mr Hemstock said he expected around 40 competitors from Great Britain to take part, and the ten from the Chinto Karate Group could represent a quarter of Team GB.

The youngest of the team’s ten competitors will be eight-year-old Ruby Moore.

Ruby’s mum, Felicity, who lives in Jews’ Lane, Bradwell, said her and husband Wayne were very proud of their daughter, who is the current world champion in her age category after she won gold at the World Games held in Norwich last year.

The 26-year-old mum-of-two said: “My husband wanted her to do it so she could learn self-defence. I wanted her to be a ballerina. We never thought it would go this far.

“We are so proud of her and we so proud of the club. They get excellent training. Tracy is so good with them and brings out the best in everyone.

“It will be Ruby’s first time out of the country. It is just a great opportunity for them – the children have never had an experience like this before.”

Businesses in the town have helped contribute to the groups fund-raising efforts by donating raffle prizes and money towards their travel expenses and the club are keen for more to come forward to help.

The team are holding a demonstration session outside the Market Gates 
shopping centre, near Wilkinsons, in Yarmouth town centre, on Wednesday, February 17 from 11am until 3pm.

There will be a Kata, weapons and team display, Kumite play and a chance for members of the public to try their hand at some karate.

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