Karate kid an inspiration

Pupil from Oakwood Preparatory School in Chichester achieves karate success despite suffering from a debilitating illness

Oakwood pupil Leo Tregear scooped three silver medals, a trophy for overall performance and achievement of the day at the recent GKI National Karate championships, held in Chelmsford.

Leo, 10, competed as a member of the Chichester Karate Club, where he has been a member for over four years.

Leo’s achievement is particularly special as he was diagnosed at the age of five with Perthes disease, a condition in which the ball of the hip joint softens and dies. Leo has had three operations, lengthy times in traction and on crutches, and although he is still recovering from the damage and deformity caused by the degenerative disease, he has emerged as one of the leading sports players at his school.

Oakwood’s head of games, Matt Vella, has been impressed by Leo’s progress: “Leo is one of the most inspirational boys I have ever met. When he joined us in 2012, he was recovering from his last operation and we had no idea how much sport he would be able to do. Initially, karate and swimming were really the only activities that Leo could safely participate in, but as he became stronger, we were able to give him the chance to take part in a wide range of sports, and his determination, overwhelmingly positive attitude and natural skill has meant that he is now one our fastest runners, a fantastic football and rugby player and an excellent all-round sportsman. Last term, he was selected to represent Oakwood in the Colts A Rugby Sevens team. We are very proud of the progress that he has made and he is a great ambassador for Oakwood.”

Leo’s karate instructor, Sensei Alan Prior, is similarly supportive of Leo, and has coached him through six karate competitions. Along with the rest of the Chichester team, Leo is looking forward to taking part in the international Gasshuku event, which will take place in Chichester this summer.



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