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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Black belt for Karate Kid
Zach Galliford
Zach has trained three years to get his black belt
A boy from Borth in mid Wales has become the youngest black belt member of the Karate Union of Great Britain.

Zach Galliford was awarded the prestigious belt after a stringent examination in Torbay last month.

The eight-year-old is a member of the Tekki Karate Club and trains at Aberystwyth and Borth at least twice a week.

Zach took up the discipline three years ago because of his size.

Zach is the youngest black belt among our eleven thousand members nationwide
Bob Poynton, Karate Union of Great Britain

"Because I'm small I thought it would be a good idea to do karate in case I'd get picked on at school," said Zach, who is delighted with his black belt award.

"I didn't think I'd get the black belt because I thought I was a bit too young and a bit too small," added Zach.


Zach's mother, Una, said the whole family spent a week in Torbay so that Zach could train for his black belt test.

"We thought it was better for him to spend time in Torbay training for a week with others before he went for his black belt," said Mrs Galliford.

The family have travelled all over the country to allow Zach to follow his chosen path.

Last year he reached the quarter final of the Children's Championship at Chesterfield and the semi-final of the British Championships in Birmingham.

Una Galliford
The family spent a week in Torbay to help Zach train for his black belt

Bob Poynton, national administrator of the Karate Union of Great Britain said the organisation was very proud of Zach's achievement.

"Zach is the youngest black belt among our eleven thousand members nationwide," said Mr Poynton.

"Zach has worked very hard to get his black belt and is very disciplined and focused," he added.

During the week-long course at Torbay, Zach had to show examiners his aptitude at three levels including Kumite, which is controlled sparring without causing injury to his opponent.

The youngster has now started training for his second dan belt, which he can get in two years time, but he has to wait until he is 21 before he can attempt to gain his third dan.

"I'd like to be the youngest person to get a second dan and after I get my third dan I might then give up," said Zach, a pupil at Borth's Ysgol Craig yr Wylfa.

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