Oulton Broad school girl becomes a black belt in karate
IT is a combat sport that takes exceptional discipline and years of training to master.
But Zara Williams has taken it 'all in her stride' by becoming a karate black belt at the age of eight.
Zara is the youngest member of her club to reach the rank and has already become an international champion.
However, she is now facing a new fight – to raise the �1,200 she needs to represent England at the Amateur Martial Arts (AMA) World Championships in Serbia in the autumn.
A special assembly was held at Woods Loke Primary School in Oulton Broad on Monday where Zara demonstrated her skills to her fellow pupils with instructors from Phoenix Karate School.
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Mark Prentice, Zara's headteacher, said he was delighted to have her at the school. He said: 'I'm so proud that she is representing Suffolk and has gone on to be a rising star. I think it is an exceptional achievement and it is all because she is so dedicated to her sport and takes it very seriously.
'It is great that she is putting both Suffolk and Woods Loke Primary School on the map. If she keeps going the way she is, she could be a rising star for a future Olympics. She is so skilful and takes all this success in her stride.'
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Zara, who attends the Hopton-based Phoenix Karate Schools, has been chosen to represent the AMA as part of the England squad at the World Championships in Serbia in October.
She won her first international title when she claimed a gold medal in the eight years old and under category at the AMA International Championships in Sheffield.
She also had successful year in 2011 when she became the AMA national champion, a bronze medal winner at the USKA Northern Karate Championships in Bury, and silver medal winner at the SKU British Open Championships held at the EIS Arena in Sheffield.
Vivianne Trorey, instructor at Phoenix Karate Schools, said: 'Obviously not everyone wants to compete, and she has decided to put extra effort in the competitions but she has embraced the hard training Zara Williams and has the correct mindset, which comes from having no fear. 'It is not that common to see some one with a black belt at her age. She has done very well and achieved a lot more than most people her age.
'She has a lot potential and has the chance to compete in the World Championships in Serbia.'
A race night is being held to raise money for Zara at 7pm on March 31, at The Corton Hut in Corton. If anyone is interested in sponsoring Zara, contact Phoenix Karate Schools on 01502 730171.