Another world champion walks among the people of Portsmouth after Kokoro Karate Club’s Claire Johns won gold in the WJKA World Karate Championships.
The 28-year-old lifted gold in the senior ladies’ kumite category at the event in Remscheid, Germany, after seeing off a host of top fighters on her route to glory.
All the hard work Johns put into training at her training base at Roko gym, Copnor, paid off after she won her final 2-1.
However, the England international admitted she was surprised to have returned home victorious.
‘I was really quite shocked when I realised I had won,’ said Johns. ‘But I thought I would do well because of the amount of training I had done – I really upped my training programme and was in the gym six times a week beforehand.
‘By the end of the final, my nose was bleeding and I still had the ladies’ team event to take part in, so I don’t think it really sunk in straight away.
‘But, obviously, I am very happy to have won and to see my hard work pay off.’
John’s achievement was made even more special by the fact she has been fighting and training regularly for only a year and half, after nine years out of the sport.
A career in karate began at the age of 10 after Johns discovered it was the best way for her to relieve her energy and aggression.
She continued her involvement in the sport until she reached 18, before then deciding to give it up.
However, her decision to come out of retirement paid off, with Johns – who also claimed bronze in the ladies’ team kumite – a key member of the Shotokan of England Karate Union team that amassed seven world championship golds and 22 medals in total in Germany.
And it won’t be long before she’ll be fighting on home soil, either, with the Mountbatten Centre hosting the CQ Invitational in November.
On her chances there, Johns said: ‘I hope I can do well again but I’m quite confident in myself.
‘There are going to be Welsh and Irish fighters there, so I’m expecting some really good competition.’
– ALEX DODD