Maria clinches medal haul

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KUK Sool Won sensation Maria Whiting was left celebrating recently after competing in the European Kuk Sool Won tournament in Kings Lynn and picking up a big medal haul.

The 10-year-old from Bury St Edmunds, competed in the Under-12-year-old division as the youngest competitor in five disciplines, including sword form, staff form, empty hand form, self defence techniques and sparring.

Excelling in three of the five disciplines, Whiting, who has trained in the sport since the age of just four, received two gold medals and a further silver.

On top of her medal success, the youngster was also awarded with the Youth Grand Champion trophy at the end of the tournament, after amassing the most points throughout the competition.

It was the first time Whiting, who trains twice a week in Sudbury with instructor Karen Smith, had been awarded the main championship trophy, to make the occasion even more memorable.

Reflecting on the success, her mother Lynn, who encouraged the youngster to follow in her footsteps into martial arts, spoke of her pride at her daughter’s achievement.

“This is the first time she has been awarded the grand champion award and we are all really proud,” she said.

“I have always encouraged her to get into the sport ever since she was walking and I was doing it when I was carrying her and so she was destined to take it up.

“Neither of us could believe it and we were both shocked when she won the award.

“She was the youngest in her category, which can be daunting but she coped with it brilliantly.

“Hopefully she will keep it up and continue to compete because she seems to be a natural and really loves the sport.”