A BOY from Fordingbridge has celebrated becoming the number two in the world for karate under-13s.

Tom Klemz, 12, a pupil at Burgate School, started karate when he was five years old and after winning more than 70 matches has become the number two in the world for his age group.

“I started in Bournemouth with Shaun Lanham and have moved on with Jonathan Mottram who is the most successful competitor in Great Britain,” Tom said.

“My mum took me to my first karate lesson because I was quite hyper. I completely fell in love with it.

“The first couple of years I did it because I enjoyed it, I was always looking up at the older boys and older girls and thought it was amazing the stuff they could do.”

Tom would usually travel around the world competing against other people his age.

However, due to Covid-19, his competitions have moved online which enabled him to enter 20 worldwide events.

And after winning 70 matches, 20 gold medals, eight silver medals and 11 bronze medals, Tom achieved number two in the world status.

He continued: “It is quite cool actually. I have a lot of friends at school who are really supportive and understanding of my achievements.

“It is obviously different because everything is on Zoom and everything is mirrored but that has not stopped me.

“I have made friends with most the competitors all around the world, it brings us together.

“I speak to them every day and it’s a real sense of community.”

Alongside the coronavirus restrictions, Tom also had to deal with his dad being diagnosed with ME, chronic fatigue syndrome.

However, this inspired him to build a ‘dojo’ at the bottom of his garden so he could train at home.

Tom’s mum, Anne, said: “Tom will continue to stay positive through the pandemic, compete online and prepare himself for when live competitions start again.

“Depending on sponsorship, this year the world karate championships is in Romania and we hope it will be safe to participate. Tom’s hope is to fly the flag and represent his country at this event and to bring a world championships medal back to Bournemouth.”

Jonathan Mottram added: “I am very proud of Tom’s dedication to karate and I am pleased he has fantastic parents who support him. He remains humble and I believe he has a huge future ahead of him.”