PINT-SIZED kickboxer Joe Sutherland (pictured) is milking the acclaim after becoming one of the youngest ever qualifiers for the World Championships, writes Paul Goodwin.
The Hatfield nine-year-old claimed gold at the recent National Kickboxing Championships to win the right to represent England in Canada later this year.
Joe, a pupil at Hatfield Travis St Lawrence Primary School, won the national title in the under 12 freestyle forms in Manchester.
It capped a remarkable year for the first degree black belt, who since he started competing just 12 months ago has also been crowned Yorkshire champion and won several regional medals.
He will be among the youngest ever competitors to wear the England jersey at the World Kickboxing Council World Championships, which will be held in Montreal in October.
Proud mother Gemma said: “Joe has shown a great deal of dedication, passion and commitment to kickboxing to reach the level that he is now at.
“The chance to represent his country at the age of nine is a life changing experience for him.
“Joe started as a four-year-old, training at East West MMA in Armthorpe under the instruction of Master Stuart Wilkes.
“His journey has been far from been easy because in the early days he struggled to maintain the focus needed.
“But he is training five nights a week now and he’s done incredibly well over the last year.
“The whole family is really proud of him.”
Joe recently started training at Andy Crittenden’s Martial Arts Centre in Balby, where several world champions have emerged in recent years.
The youngster also performed alongside Danny Ball, one half of local duo Strike who reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent, at a Local British Red Cross event.
“Joe is incredibly excited about Canada, however the trip is not cheap and all the costs have to be covered by the family,” added Gemma.
“We’d really like to hear from any businesses out there that might be interested in sponsoring Joe.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Joe can contact Gemma on 07557 521071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.