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A twelve year old girl has stunned the world of martial arts with her meteoric rise from complete novice to British champion in less than three years.

Lauren Purley a pupil of Conyers School and a member of Teesside Academy Shukokai Karate (TASK) started her career by enrolling on a free taster session which was part of Tees Active's and NHS Stockton's Sporting Start programme, designed to help children lead a more physically active lifestyle.

Her natural talent was immediately spotted by Sensei Mark Raistrick (5th Dan) who encouraged Lauren to continue with Taisho-Do Karate by joining the local club which have weekly training sessions at Harewood Centre, Thornaby Pavilion, Splash and Billingham Forum.

In 2010 Lauren got her first taste of success by becoming a silver medallist in the English Championships, followed by major success in 2011 achieving gold in both the English and British championships. Since then Lauren has been undefeated and hopes to defend her English title in April.

Lauren's stand out sporting achievement to date is when she took the prestigious title of British Karate federation International Open Champion in Glasgow.

Sensei Mark Raistrick said; "Lauren is a fantastically gifted fighter who is technically talented and extremely intelligent which enables her to formulate excellent fighting strategies which enables her to overcome her opponents. She is currently unbeaten in 2012 and I am sure if she continues to work hard she will be able to build on her success".

Proud mum Julie Purley said: "Lauren is not an aggressive child at all but has skill, focus and determination; she has proved to be a good student as she listens to all her coaches."

Lauren who is currently a brown belt (2nd Kyu) is training hard for the English Championships later this month.

Allan McDermott from the Tees Active Sports Academy added "This is a fantastic story and is great to hear that someone that was introduced to a sport through the Sporting Start programme has not only continued to participate but has achieved such a high level of success in such a short time."

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A twelve year old girl has stunned the world of martial arts with her meteoric rise from complete novice to British champion in less than three years.
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