A TEENAGER with a wealth of prestigious honours under his belt, Brandon Carr was the modern day karate kid.

But now, at the age of 18, the martial arts star is England’s senior heavyweight karate champion.

The former pupil of Alston’s Samuel Kings School excelled at a knock-out tournament in Sheffield, where he went up against older and more experienced competitors.

After progressing through four knock-out stages, Carr defeated Chandler Walters, of London, in the final.

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “I went there to win. You have to be confident in your ability, and I performed as well as I possibly could.”

Carr’s achievement masked the fact that he has struggled to overcome an injury problem over the past three months.

The teenager suffered a cartilage injury in his left knee while training during the spring, and has had to carefully ease his way back in to competitive action.

“For a period, I couldn’t do fighting practice,” he admitted. “I could only do fitness work. But I got myself into shape for Sheffield after just four training sessions.

“Even so, I had to alter my approach to protect the knee, so to win the way I did was great.”

Carr revealed he has been selected to represent England at the World Championships in Chile, in November.

And the former junior champion has not given up hope of competing at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

He explained: “To be honest, my injury has caused me to miss some qualifying events, so I have been restricted in terms of my progress.

“Whether it’s this time or next time, my ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympics and I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can.

“If I can stay fit and injury free, that’s the key, but I have a lot to focus on for this year and beyond.”

Carr is currently sixth in world heavyweight karate, at U21 level.

He is reaping the rewards for years of dedication to his chosen sport.

Back in 2017, Carr returned from the Banzai Cup in Germany with the trophies for winning the +76KG and open competitions at U18 level.

The youngster is preparing for a new chapter in September, when he will join Northumbria University to study sports science.