Charlotte Hope GB’s first Youth Olympian in Karate
Meet Charlotte Hope the British Karate Federation and English Karate Federations first Youth Olympian. Charlotte trains at Links Karate Club part of the EKKA karate association within the English Karate Federation. Charlotte burst on to the world stage back in 2015 when first selected for the world championships for Indonesia. Under the guidance of her club instructor Paul Harris – Links and the England Coach’s Davin Pack and Paul Newby she has achieved so much in a short space of time. Charlotte Hope is only 16 years old and now looks to qualify for the Youth Olympics -59kgs event which is being held in Argentina in October. We caught up with Charlotte to find out a little more about her.
Q. It’s been an exciting few months for you firstly, a World bronze medal then, Gold at the Europeans, a massive achievement how did you feel after each win?
A. At the Worlds, initially, I was disappointed as I lost in the semi-final against Bulgaria. After four good fights, I was gutted to just miss out with a chance to get the gold. So, to come back and win a bronze medal, I was ecstatic. It was my first medal at that level, so I was overwhelmed, especially as my kick was only scored after Paul Newby put up the card for video review, this won me the bronze medal. At the Europeans I was just as nervous because this time I had added pressure of winning another medal. Throughout the competition I was fighting well and gaining confidence after each round. Davin Pack coached me through each round and helped me win the gold. I didn’t know how to react after the final, in some ways I was relieved because now I had reached one of my main goals, but also, I was glad because I knew how much work I put in leading up to the competition.
Q. What was your favourite fight and your hardest fight at the Europeans and Worlds?
A. In Tenerife, the most frustrating fight for me was the semi-final against Bulgaria. My favourite fight was the bronze medal fight against Hungary because it made up for the disappointment the previous day when I lost to go to the final. In Russia my favourite fight was against Switzerland in the third round. I knew the Swiss girl as I had seen her fight before and I knew she was one of the best in my category. I won this round 7-0 which put me one step closer to the final. My hardest fight was definitely the final against France. Due to the whole atmosphere, I was extremely nervous and struggled for the first part of my fight to get my distance as she was an awkward fighter. However, after I won it was one of the best moments of my karate career so far.
Charlotte was mentioned in the WKF write up of the day www.wkf.net
“The most outstanding demonstration of offensive Karate occurred in the final of Junior Female Kumite -59kg. France’s Assia Oukhattou took a clear lead in the bout after connecting four yukos. However, her rival Charlotte Hope of England showed exceptional kicking skills. The English promising karateka made three consecutive ura-mawashi geri and achieved three impressive ippons that allowed the World Cadet, Junior & U21 Championships bronze medallist to win the final and the continental title by 9-4”.
Q. It looks like you are going to qualify for the IOC Youth Olympics in Argentina this year and be the first English and British Athlete to do this, how do you feel about being an Olympian and what does it mean to you?
A. It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I may have a chance to be one of the first British Karate athletes to go to the youth Olympics. To be an Olympian would feel amazing as it is another one of my goals I would have reached.
Q. What preparation and training are you doing without giving any secrets away? How many times a week do you train at your club/association, what else do you do to supplement your training and who do you train with?
A. I train most nights of the week and usually have competitions or more training at weekends. I also go the gym for strength and conditioning. At Links, as well as sport and traditional karate training, my coach Paul Harris makes us do fitness drills. I am lucky to be part of a great team with other England members like Mitchell, Ethan, Sam and Ryan as well as other clubmates that are good to train with.
Q. How have your family reacted to you being a possible Olympian?
A. My family are always proud and have supported me in everything I do. I wouldn’t have got to where I am today without their support. They think it’s amazing that I could be going to the youth Olympics and represent GB.
Q. How are you coping mentally in readiness for the IOC Youth Olympics, as it must be quite difficult with exams, school and training?
A. It’s hard to maintain a balance as karate takes up most of my time. I try and manage them both so I can continue karate at a high level but also put time into studying for exams because I want to go to University after college. I try to focus on one thing at a time regarding karate as too much can be overwhelming, so I am planning ahead, but I have other things to focus on as well as the youth Olympics in the meantime.
Q. How do you feel now karate is an Olympic sport?
A. I think karate should have been in the Olympics a long time ago and I am glad that it has finally got in. Karate athletes deserve to have the opportunity to represent GB just as much as any other athlete. I’m proud that I could be the first of hopefully many.
Q. What does it mean to you to be representing GB at the IOC Youth Olympics
A. It would be a unique experience to represent GB and to be involved with other athletes from various sports. As a karate athlete I have never had the opportunity to compete at an event like this.
Q. Who’s your role model or idol?
A. I’m thankful to be part of an association that has had many World and European medallists over the years and honestly, I don’t have a particular role model because I look up to all of them. As well as this I enjoy watching all the senior England internationals because hopefully that’s where I am heading.
Q. What are your dreams and ambitions, inside and outside of karate?
A. I want to continue to medal consistently at a high level. As well as representing England, another one of my main goals has always been to get my black belt. Outside of karate I plan to go to University to study economics as this has always interested me.
Q. There must be something in the water as your association have had 3 medals from the last 2 events the Junior Worlds and Junior Europeans. How did you, Ethan Day and Mitchell Thorpe Celebrate? How’s it been at your club/association since your wins?
A. After I won my medals the England team were all supportive and excited for me. It was also nice to have my clubmates there to share each other’s successes. When we got back from each event there was a lot of excitement within the club and it’s nice to know that we have so much support from back home when we are competing. As a team Paul Harris our club coach, keeps us grounded because there is always another goal to aim for. We go straight back to normal training after every competition because Paul is always pushing us to achieve more.
Q. Do you think your win and qualification will inspire more females to take up the sport?
A. Since I started sport karate, I have noticed that it is a male dominated sport. I hope that by more females gaining success, it encourages more girls to progress within the sport. I’m glad there is now a ladies’ super 8 cup because it gives females another platform to show their talent as well as the men.
Q. How long have you been doing karate, when did you start and Why, name of club association and instructor?
A. I started karate six years ago when I was ten. My younger brother actually wanted to start and so my Mum made me go with him. I train at Links Karate with Paul Harris, part of the EKKA association.
Q. What was your first competition win?
A. I started competing when I was eleven years old. In my first competition, which was an EKKA competition, I won a silver medal. My first gold was at the UK open, which was my third competition. A few months after that, I won a bronze at the British 4 Nations in Scotland.
Q. Do you have a favourite karate Technique?
A. My favourite technique to do is ura mawashi geri but I still like to go back to basics and use gyaku-zuki a lot of the time.
Q. When you’re not training what do you like to do to relax?
A. Karate and college take up most of my time but when I am free I just like to relax and catch up with friends.
Q. How many times have you won English & British National Championships?
A. I’ve won the English and British three times and the British International twice.
Thank you Charlotte. We wish you the best of luck with your training and fingers crossed for the Youth Olympics.
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