Karate kid Natasha looking to get kicks on world stage

Natasha Watkins is a rising star in one of the newest Olympic sports.

The 16-year-old doesn’t expect to be part of Team GB’s karate squad for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Natasha shows her skills in the gym

But the Royton and Crompton School pupil still aims to be on top of the world in the coming years.

After all, the Amateur Martial Association (AMA) England prospect marked her debut on the international stage by winning a brace of silver medals at the WUKF World Championships.

And Natasha has the chance to take the next step on the podium when flying to Italy at the end of the month for the 2017 Worlds edition.

“I love the sport and love going to different places,” she told the Correspondent.

“My dad, Michael, did Ju-Jitsu and I took up karate when I was eight,” explained Natasha, a first dan, black belt and former pupil at Hodge Clough Primary.

“I started at a club in Rochdale and then moved to Ren Do Kai in Heywood where I now train three times a week.

“After that I got chosen to go down for training with the AMA England squad.

“Once I had trained they selected me to go to Dublin for the WUKF World Championships.”

There were more than 2,000 at the event and Natasha’s first event was the three person, mini cadet ippon kumite category where the team took second place.

She then competed individually in the same discipline at -60kg and also finished runner-up.

Further medals have followed this year for Natasha whose sport received Olympic recognition in August 2016. Jordan Thomas is karate’s big star, winning the world title in kumite division.

“I don’t know if I would make the 2020 Olympics but maybe for 2024,” she laughed.

Despite kicking her way to success Natasha’s feet are firmly on the ground when it comes to her immediate future.

“I’m going to Oldham Sixth Form College but not to study anything involving sport, she smiled. “I will be doing English, History and Spanish.”


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