A TYNEDALE teenager has warmed up for the world championships by winning double international gold.
Karate prospect Brandon Carr (16), of Alston and Hexham, returned from the Banzai Cup in Germany with the trophies for winning the +76KG and open competitions at U18 level.
And it was the perfect confidence boost ahead of the World Youth Championships in Tenerife in a fortnight’s time.
Facing four fights in each competition, Brandon showed his class against international opponents to bring the silverware back in his luggage.
It was the best way to bounce back after the disappointment he felt when winning two silvers from an event in Switzerland three weeks beforehand.
He said: “I wasn’t happy with my performances in Switzerland, so I beasted myself for three weeks and everything was much better in Berlin.
“I knew it was going to be a tough competition and there were some quite big rivals fighting, so I needed to have that extra mental edge.
“Everything I had worked hard at all came together and I was really pleased with my performance, and I can’t wait for the Worlds now.”
Brandon goes to the world championships expecting to challenge for the title, his confidence sky high after his excellent performances in Germany.
He knows that he requires a top five finish to stand any chance of realising his dream of qualifying for next year’s Youth Olympics, in Argentina.
Victory would guarantee his place!
He said: “I have the potential to win it if everything goes well, but I definitely think I can medal.
“I need to get the points and if I finish high enough, somewhere in the top five, in the Worlds, then that will jump me up the world rankings even more.
“After the weekend, I feel really good but I’ve got to keep level headed. But I’ve still got a lot of confidence I can do it.”
Brandon is fully focused on going all the way in the sport, and currently trains 20 hours a week to help him on the path to Olympic stardom.
Last month, the recently crowned British champion relocated to Skipton College to start a course in sports coaching and development, the college chosen as it allows him instant access to the facilities which the England team use as its base.
And he is already reaping the benefits of a more rigid training schedule.
He said: “I’m doing about three to four hours training a day so it’s proper full-on and really hard, but I have got used to it now even if I am absolutely shattered at the end of each week!
“I’m loving it though and I know it is what I need to do if I’m going to go all the way.
“It’s like living like a fully sponsored athlete, just without the money!”