Hero turtles kick-started karate kid's sporting life

PUBLISHED: 11:37 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010

Gareth Hains

Gareth Hains

AS a child, Gareth Hains would sit glued to the television watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Little did he realise how much influence the heroes in a halfshell would have on his sporting life almost 10 years later. Gareth, now 15, gets his

AS a child, Gareth Hains would sit glued to the television watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.

Little did he realise how much influence the heroes in a halfshell would have on his sporting life almost 10 years later.

Gareth, now 15, gets his kicks out of karate and is one of the finest exponents of the martial art for his age not just in Great Britain but in Europe.

For more than 20 hours a week, Gareth, a student at Sandy Upper School and Community Sports College, trains to perfect his karate skills with clubs in Luton and London with some of the finest teachers of the sport in the country.

Now on the verge of international honours, Gareth, of Sun Street, Biggleswade, picked up a gold and bronze medal at the British International Championships which is part of the European Grand Prix of events, at Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Gareth, who is sponsored by Mid Beds District Council, Frydays fish and chip shop and the Viceroy of India restaurant in Biggleswade, is now aiming for his ultimate ambition of winning an Olympic medal.

"That is my big goal," said Gareth.

"I will train hard hoping for the day when karate is included in the Olympic Games. My love of the sport did start when I was very small many years ago watching those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV.

"I started learning karate at a club in Biggleswade and moved on to bigger clubs. The dedication and training is hard and you have to be disciplined so I can train as well as do all my school work."

Gareth cannot gain international recognition until he is 16 but already there could be a duel between England and Wales for his services.

"I am leaving my options open at the moment," said Gareth, who admits to having been approached by Wales but knows he is close to a call-up by England.

This weekend Gareth competes against the under-16 world kickboxing champion on the under card for the British freestyle middleweight championship at Kidderminster.

During the coming year he has competitions planned in Germany, Holland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the United States.

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