FOUR martial arts enthusiasts helped their country achieve golden glory at a major international event.
Carl Jorgeson, Amy Jorgeson and youngsters Bailey Reed and Jasmin Langley won 14 medals, including an incredible seven golds, competing for England at the Wadokai European Championships.
The Hartlepool group joined the 30-strong karate squad competing against representatives from 20 other countries.
England won 60 medals in total and won the tournament.
Carl and wife Amy, both 28, are instructors at the Hartlepool Wadokai Club.
The group all qualified at national selections in Birmingham and they competed in different disciplines at the three day event held in Lisbon, in Portugal, last month.
Blue belt Bailey, 12, who attends Manor College of Technology and lives in the area, said: “It was a great experience and I was really shocked to win three golds and a silver.
“This was my first experience of a major tournament and I really enjoyed it; the atmosphere was great.”
Brown belt Jasmin, 14, who lives in the Burbank area and also goes to Manor College, won a gold, a silver and two bronze.
She said: “I was really pleased with my performance and when I got back to school everyone was asking me how I got on.”
The youngsters were training for up to 20-hours-a-week to prepare ahead of the tournament.
Carl, who teaches karate full-time, said: “We expected Bailey and Jasmin to medal, but to do as well as they did was just fantastic. We are very proud.”
Carl won a gold and two bronze while his wife came back with two golds and a bronze medal.
He thanked Manor College of Technology and Hartlepool College of Further Education for their continued support, plus Tesco and Morrisons for allowing them to fundraise on their sites.
Amy, a police community support officer for Durham Police, said: “We are very proud of Bailey and Jasmin. Their dedication really paid off.”
The trip cost £4,000, the majority of which was funded by the club with the rest coming from friends and family.
Amy and Carl have both represented England at World and European level before and last year they competed at the Wado World Championships in Nagoya, Japan, where both picked up medals.
The pair, who are both black belts and spent 2008 in Sugito, Japan, doing a karate internship, live in the Oxford Road area of town.
The club, which is based at the Belle Vue Centre and Owton Manor Primary School, started in 2003 and there are three other instructors, Carl’s parents, Lynne and Michael Jorgeson, who also travelled to Portugal, and Vince Dawkins.
Hartlepool Wadokai Club holds sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at various schools and sports centres in Hartlepool.
New members are always welcome at the club, which caters for anyone aged five and over.
For more information about the not-for-profit club call Carl on 07984 798634.