HE has the British title under his belt, and now he is focusing on the Olympic Games.
One of the country’s most exciting karate prospects, Brandon Carr (16), who splits his time between Hexham and Alston, is working towards representing Team GB at both the Youth Olympics in Argentina next year and the senior Games in Tokyo in 2020.
It will be the first time karate has been part of either championship, and the prospect of being one of the first British representatives is a big dream for the hard working youngster.
Brandon used the disappointment of missing out on a place in the England team by losing in the final two years ago to his advantage, and he has never looked back as his performance levels have reached the highest of heights.
Having represented England in the European Karate Federation Junior Championships in Bulgaria, where he finished an impressive seventh place, the experience has brought the best out of him and culminated in the British title in the 16 to 17 years heavyweight (+76kg) division.
At the Sheffield championships, he never dropped a point as he won his opening three fights 8-0 before beating his fellow finalist, who claimed silver in the Europeans, 4-0. The British title followed the English title secured back in April, which makes it 26 national medals in the past three years for the talented teenager.
Brandon said: “When I fought for England in Bulgaria, it was just really good and I can’t really put how good into words. All the different nations there and hearing all the anthems, it was just an experience I want more of.
“After being at the Euros, it showed that I’m not far behind and there’s just tiny, little things I need to work on. But I feel like I’ve just been flying ever since I got back.
“My aim is now to get as many points as I can, as the Youth Olympics and then the Olympics in 2020 is where I want to be.”
The qualification process for the Youth Olympics is a tough one, and Brandon needs to accrue some serious points as just one person from Europe will book their place on the plane.
The pupil at Alston’s Samuel Kings School will head out for the Croatia Cup just next week, and it will be followed by fights in the World Junior Championships in Tenerife and the European equivalent in Russia.
To help with his goal, he will head to Skipton College next year to study sports coaching and development, the course allowing him more access to the facilities which the England team use as its base.
Penrith-based Mark Holding, who has been Brandon’s instructor since he started karate aged nine, is confident that his student can reach the very top.
He said: “His potential is unlimited at the moment, and he is the best prospect in that age category in this country.
“His prospects in the future depends on how he performs in the upcoming fights, because competition karate is unforgiving so he needs to give it his best.
“Brandon is certainly capable of fighting the very best in the world, not just in this category, and he needs determination and hard work which he has shown plenty of.”
With regular travel both domestically and overseas, the expense has racked up with his father Ed driving 20,000 miles in the past six months alone. He is looking for much needed sponsorship to help him fulfil his dreams, and anyone interested can contact Mark Holding at email@example.com.