EAST DURHAM’S Bailey Baker smashed his way to a silver medal as some of Europe’s best gathered for the Scottish International Karate Open.
Baker headed to the tournament at Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium full of confidence after securing a bronze the previous week in the English Championships.
And he didn’t disappoint – battling his way through the to the final in the U-70kg, 14-15yrs category.
But his Danish opponent proved too experienced and Baker was forced to concede too many warnings for holdings and eventually lost the bout.
He was disappointed not to have taken the gold – but it was another nudge in the right direction.
Baker, 15, who trains at Ishinryu Karate Club at East Durham college, in Peterlee, said: “I was annoyed with myself for taking so many warnings. He was a really cagey fighter and I felt myself doing a lot of chasing. Ultimately he was a bit more experienced than me and it showed in the end.
“I was happy to get a silver in an international event, but I was still a little disappointed. I know I’ve just got to keep working harder and harder.”
Baker is on a huge high after some recent successes, including being selected for the England A Squad.
And just six days before Sunday’s international, he picked up a bronze it the English Championships at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge arena.
Bailey took a heavy kick in the face in his quarter-final bout in the 14-15yrs, U-70kg section.
Medics would not allow him to continue the bout, which saw his opponent disqualified – meaning he missed out on a semi-final place.
But he recovered enough for the fight off for bronze and shook off the injury to battle back for third spot.
Coach Gavin Foster, a 4th Dan and North of England regional coach, added: “Bailey is going from strength to strength. This was another terrific performance from him and he’s certainly getting noticed.
“But he’s still got a lot of hard work to do and we are keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
Anyone interested in finding out more about or joining the club can call Gavin Foster on 07708 098691.