A BARNSLEY youngster has become of the youngest black belt in the UK in shotokan.

Mayon Jayawickrama, seven, passed his black belt at the Karate Union of Great Britain’s spring karate course in Torbay.

Shotokan is a form of karate which originates from Japan. Mayon had to perform three elements including Kihon (basics technique), Kata (form) and Kumite (fighting).

Mayon said he was excited to become a black belt and was shocked to find out he was the youngest in the UK.

Barnsley Shotokan Karate Club instructor and founder Mick Padgett said: “At the tender age of seven, Mayon is also the youngest KUGB black belt in the UK so this is a fantastic achievement. We only allow children from the age of seven to train but Mayon came to watch classes when he was only four while his mum Nilu, who is also a black belt, was training. He showed a keen interest in the classes so I would allow him to join in for the last half hour.

“With his mum’s support, it quickly became apparent that Mayon had a natural aptitude for karate, showing tremendous spirit and excellent attitude, resulting in passing his first grade when he was only four. Leading up to taking his black belt, Mayon was training every day with extra tuition after classes.

“Mayon has also had a successful month in competition, winning trophies for both Kata and Kumite, but the trophy I’m most proud of is when a few weeks ago he competed in Wales. As well as winning two first places, he took the best overall trophy for the most outstanding competitor for spirit and attitude.

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“Mayon is definitely one to watch for the future.”

Mayon’s parents, Nilu and Sanjaya, of Wall Street, Barnsley, said: “Mayon really enjoys learning karate and also likes to participate in competitions.

“Karate has improved Mayon’s confidence, courage, discipline and concentration which has helped him at school.

“We are so proud of him.”

Mayon will now compete at the KUGB national championships.

Barnsley Shotokan Karate Club has had a successful year for members passing black belt gradings. Nilu Samarasinghe (Mayon’s mum) and Nigel Steel passed third dan, Martin Himsworth and Gary Trickett passed second dan. Aimee Steel, Ellie-Sophia Brook, Justin Chew, Kevin Dearnley and Roy Sykes all passed first dan.