KARATE: Jordan follows in father's footsteps as he wins World gold
Luton's Jordan Thomas has become Britain's first World karate champion for 12 years with victory in the kumite -67kg division in Linz, Austria at the weekend.
The 24-year-old, who won the European crown two years ago, defeated Hungarian world number two Yves Martial Tadissi in the final.
Thomas’ father Willie is the current England Karate national team coach and also won world gold himself back in 1992.
Speaking to the English Karate Federation, Thomas, who was ranked 11th in the world before the event said: “I have been dreaming about this since I was a boy and he (Willie) led the way.
“He could not be a better role model for me and I have to dedicate it to the hard work he and I did to get this medal.
“I know my history and I know where I come from, but it is a new generation - English and British karate are on the rise.”
Father Willie was naturally delighted to see his son follow in his own footsteps too, as he said: “Jordan was once again outstanding and is simply the best in the world.
“In addition he also was the best fighter of the championships beating three of the top five competitors in his category in the world.
“If you need a homegrown example of how to train, compete, win and conduct ones self on and off the tatami, take note of this exemplary performance by Jordan Thomas.
“There has only been two 8-0 performances in the history of WKF finals, Jordan is one of them.
“He has inspired a nation and single-handedly breathed life and hope back in to British Karate.
“Jordan Thomas, we salute you.”
With the sport only recently joining the Olympic programme, then karate has not previously qualified for UK Sport funding, which meant Thomas had to fund his own trip to Austria for the Worlds.
He recently tweeted that it would cost him £715 to take part, although the Lutonian will now be eying an Olympic medal to go with his world one, with the sport included for the first time at the 2020 Tokyo Games.