Ripon teenager wins England selection in North Yorks first

Ripon's James Scanlon.
Ripon's James Scanlon.

A Ripon teenager has become the first person in North Yorkshire ever to be selected for the England Karate team.

James Scanlon, 17, has been training at Ripon School of Karate for11 years, under the watchful eye of Sensei Ady Gray, owner of the karate school.

Ady himself is an England karate coach and a 5th Dan Black Belt who has just returned from a coaching trip to Qatar in the Middle East.

James, a 2nd Dan Black Belt, was selected at trials in Ipswich earlier this month and will compete in the male team Kata category at the Junior and Cadet European Championships in Turkey in February 2013.

James said: “I’m thrilled to have been selected for the England team. I work really hard, with most of my spare time taken up with training, so this makes it all worthwhile. I can’t wait for our trip to Turkey next year.”

The news comes as Ripon School of Karate is also chosen to host the third and final phase of selections for the England Karate Team this Saturday. Dozens of the country’s best karate-Ka will descend on Ripon, hopeful of taking one of the nine remaining places in the team.

Ady said: “James being selected is a fantastic achievement for him. His brilliance stood out so much at the previous selection day in Ipswich that he was chosen immediately. It was a unanimous decision. We’re looking forward to hosting the next phase of selections in a couple of weeks, here in Ripon. It will be exciting to have so much talent in one place, in our region!”

Ady’s recent trip to Qatar, in Doha, on September 18-23, was for the Qatar Karate Federation’s invitational championships. Eight members of the England team, including Kata coach, Ady Gray and Kumite coach Willie Thomas attended the six day trip.

The England team was invited by the Qatar Karate Federation along with Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Tunisia. This was the first International Championships to be hosted by the Qatar Karate Federation and was great preparation for the World Championships in Paris in November.

The competition was held over two days and was live on television in Qatar. With Karate one of the favourite sports to become a new Olympic sport, this exercise was a great profile-raiser.

England came away with two bronze medals.

Ady said: “We were looked after impeccably throughout our visit and witnessed for ourselves the major investment being made by Qatar in developing all sports.

“The England team that went on this amazing trip promoted karate in England so well that another invite to next year’s championships is likely, and we can’t wait!”

Ady, 41, has taught karate for 21 years and turned professional in 2004. He started training at the age of seven and passed his first Dan Black Belt at the age of 14.