Taekwondo: Trio secure medal success
CLAIRE Sollaku defeated pre-tournament favourite Selina Rai to be crowned a national taekwondo champion.
The 30-year-old, from Fenton, knew it would be a tough battle in the senior women's 57kg novice division, but was able to top the podium.
It capped a successful weekend for Stoke UTA Taekwondo club, who picked up a total of four medals at the Manchester event.
Jack Pickin, aged 12, from Birches Head, showed he has taken no time to master the martial art after switching disciplines from kickboxing.
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Pickin eased through his quarter and semi-finals in the 49kg novice cadets class with fine displays of high kicking and took the fight to Mgdad Alim in a thrilling final.
Strong fighter Alim, however, proved a step too far and Pickin had to make do with a silver medal.
In the junior 73kg category, Bjorn Dominick, aged 15, from Ash Bank, collected a bronze medal.
Dominick's club-mate Para-taekwondo star Amy Truesdale, from Chester, was fighting in the able-bodied division despite a lower arm deficiency.
The 23-year-old fought the competition of her life to come away with a bronze medal.
Anya Hynes, aged 23, from Sandbach, was unfortunate to draw the competition's top seed Caroline Fisher in her opening bout and she was stopped in the first round.
Coach Peter Johnson, from Sneyd Green, said: "I was delighted.
"This competition could not have come at a better time in the wake of the Olympics and we picked up four medals from just five players.
"It's a long time until the next Olympics in Rio, but we are starting to get the talent."
Stoke UTA train at the Wallace Centre, in Abbey Hulton, and at Cobridge Community Centre. For more information, call (01782) 281906.