A LEIGH schoolgirl was crowned the English Karate Organisation under 16s national champion in Birmingham at the weekend.

Chloe Sarbutts, a year nine student at Bedford High School, became the champion after beating an opponent from Stoke Ferry, Norfolk, in the final.

Her opponent had earlier finished second in the kata competition and was highly fancied for the kumite competition, but Chloe’s self belief in her own ability was not in question and she dug deep to come out victorious.

Sensei Iain Crowder said: “I’m extremely proud of Chloe’s achievement, her commitment to training hard has paid dividends and it’s something nobody can ever take away from her.

“She will be able to tell her children and grandchildren that she was once the best under 16 in the country, you have to be proud of that.

“Even the EKO chairman Dave Sharkey 8th Dan commented on her performance and said she was fantastic.

“The club’s record of producing champions is growing as is Bedford’s, Chloe is now the second year nine student to win following Ewan Crowder’s win two years ago.”

Chloe trains at Astley Shukokai Karate Club, at Gin Pit Miners Welfare Club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.