BECOMING a world champion in your chosen sport is something athletes usually work all their career for, so to become one at the age of 10 is extraordinary.
But that’s just what Sussex Inlet’s Patrick Bannon has done after claiming gold at the recent GKR World Cup on the Gold Coast.
Making it even more impressive is that fact that Bannon’s only been participating in karate for 12 months.
“I started doing karate last August – dad wanted us all to do a sport but because he is a single parent it had to be a sport we all do together at the same time, and GKR Karate was all we could find where we all train together as a family,” Bannon said.
“Dad, my sisters and I all do the same tournaments together - it’s really cool.
“I started competing in tournaments in May this year, doing Kata to see if I like it.
“Kata is doing a series of combinations using strikes blocks and kicks in an imaginary battle.
“From there, my family and I competed at the GKR Karate Wollongong regional tournament in Kooawarra.
“I won a gold medal and my sister Kiara won a silver medal and dad won a silver medal.
“We then travelled to Lucus Heights in June, where we competed in GKR region four tournament where I won my second gold medal again for Kata.
“Kiara, Makenzie and dad got two silver and a bronze between them.
“These medals qualified us all for the GKR World Championships on the Gold Coast.”
To prepare for the biggest competition of his life, Bannon, an orange belt, and his family set up a little karate dojo in their garage, to allow them to do extra hours training – on top of the two sessions a week they do at the Sussex Inlet and Bomaderry centres.
“We started in a group of 10 – they were from US, Great Brittain as well as New Zealand,” Bannon said.
“Two people were up at the same time and we both did our kata and the three judges picked the best kata and the winner progresses to the next round and the person who didn’t win was out of the competition.
“I did three different katas and won every round until I was the only one left – making me the winner of the 10 years 7th Kyu division.
“Winning was the best feeling and so far the highest achievement of my career.”
The Sussex Inlet Public School student hopes this is the springboard for a long and successful career in karate.
“Next on the agenda is the state championships in Sydney in September and we will do another regional tournament in Wollongong in October,” Bannon said.
“Then we finish the year off with the Australian championships representing NSW in Sydney in November.
“Next year I will be doing both Kata and Kumite (sparring) as I feel more confident and want to see how I go with that and see where I go in the next world championships in two years, depending on where they are held.”
Bannon and his family would like to thank Sussex Inlet Jumping Castles for helping raise the funds to go to the world championships, as well as both the junior and senior Sussex Inlet Football Clubs.