Karate champ with 11 GCSEs

England international Matthew Harris won double gold at Actikarate regional championships
England international Matthew Harris won double gold at Actikarate regional championships

England international Matthew Harris won double gold at the Actikarate regional championships at Gamlingay Village College.

The 18-year-old from Harrold gained gold for both kata (forms) and kumite (sparring).

Actikarate founder Frank Nezhadpournia said that what impressed him about his star pupil was that he’d maintained his academic studies while training twice a week.

He explained: “Matthew secured 11 GCSEs – including two A+ grades, eight straight As and one B.

“There’s a link between sporting excellence and academic achievement, they are related but ultimately it’s about the individual.

“I asked his mum to present his medal because both parents have been an integral part of his karate career and his mum has watched every one of his classes over the past 10 years.”

Frank added: “I think Matthew was more taken aback by that than having to compete against any opponent.”

More than 100 youngsters from three counties took part in the championships.

All the medal ribbons were in the colours of the French flag as a mark of respect for all who died and were injured in the Paris atrocities on Friday, November 13.

“It was a nice touch,” Frank said. “It got a round of applause.”

He started Actikarate 10 years ago, mainly to offer young people classes in self defence.

He himself was the victim of knife attacks as a young man and has been practising karate for 35 years. He has also written four books.

Frank now teaches more than 500 children in 20 schools and said: “Dunton Lower School, Carlton Lower School and Gamlingay Village College are still the grass roots training centres producing black belts and internationals.”