Karate: Newburgh karate girl Jessica Brannan targets Olympics one day after landing world kata title
Watched by her proud parents Jamie and Louise, Newburgh Primary School pupil Jessica, a brown and white belt, excelled in front of the judges in four separate kata rounds to clinch first place in the under-10 event.
The overall competition featured several categories in various ages contested by 2000 competitors from around the world.
"It was amazing watching all the participants competing but obviously when you see your own girl it is something special,” Jessica’s dad Jamie told the Herald and Citizen.
"To see her up on the podium in first place with the Scotland flag around her, it was quite emotional.
"Jessica is absolutely over the moon about winning. There were people there from Brazil, Peru, Rwanda and a lot from America as well. They don’t travel all this way to finish 10th or 11th, so it was great competition and for Jessica to come out on top was something else.
"She is just a natural athlete. Any sport she tries, she takes to it naturally. She understands what the aim is and goes out and does her best.
"Jessica has been doing the karate for two years and will be going for her black belt this year.
"I’m very confident she’ll get that black belt. She’s quite a confident little girl so she’ll do well.
"Ultimately Jessica wants to compete at the Olympics. That’s what she’s been saying for the last year or so.
"That’s her aim, so we’re going to support her as much as we can to get there.”
In a memorable double, Jessica’s triumph last month came one day after her TKA Karate Association coach Gordon Mathie won the men’s world title in the veterans category at the same event.
Sixth Dan black belt Mathie, of Kelty, was praised by Jamie, who added: “Gordon’s a massive influence on Jessica.
"I can honestly say there’s not many people that I’ve met that have the same kind of passion this man’s got for karate.
"On top of that he’s got an amazing work ethic and he clearly passes that on to the kids that are all training.
"And you can see how enthused they get through him.”
Jamie also comes from a martial arts background, having done it in his younger years when he was more supple. He got Jessica into karate as he thought it was a natural fit for her, an assessment which is proving very accurate.
These days the youngster generally practises her karate two days a week, with this extended to three or four times weekly in the run-up to competitions.
The next big karate event on the horizon for her will be the WUKF European Championships in Antibes, France, from November 16 to 19.
If Jessica’s family can generate sufficient sponsorship, there is also the possibility that she could compete in America next year, at a North American tournament in Las Vegas.
If you would like to offer sponsorship for Jessica, please email Jamie by contacting him at [email protected]