Vale Karate proves it's a true family club!

KARATE MEDALS: Medal winners at Western Karate Union's Winter Invitational - Kloe Christoforato, Rory O'Donovan, Finnian O'Donovan, Heidi Christoforato and Bradley Christoforato.

KARATE MEDALS: Medal winners at Western Karate Union's Winter Invitational - Kloe Christoforato, Rory O'Donovan, Finnian O'Donovan, Heidi Christoforato and Bradley Christoforato.

First published in Sport

TWO families of four, all of whom train with Rob Copeland at Vale Karate, had much to celebrate after competing at the Western Karate Union's Winter Invitational in Weston-super-Mare last weekend.

There were two and three medals respectively for the O'Donovan and Christoforato families.

Forty-seven-year-old Rory O'Donovan, after four years of dedicated training, earned his black belt last year.

Ready for another challenge, he began entering the Welsh Karate League's Veteran Kumite event, where he has been extremely successful, and is ranked No 1 after winning the last five events.

Youngest son, seven-year-old Finnian, has been even more successful, and is leading the rankings in the Under 8s, having won six of this season's seven events. In Weston, they faced new opponents, but the experience garnered in the league, which offers competitions on an almost monthly basis, certainly paid dividends as both Rory and Finnian earned gold medals in their respective categories.

The Christoforatos are no strangers to karate success.

Brad, 15, and 12-year-old Kloe have been among Wales' and, indeed, Britain's most successful young karate champions for several years, with a host of titles to their names.

Kloe is top of this season's Welsh Karate League rankings in both her Kata and Kumite categories, while Brad has been similarly successful, unbeaten in the WKL all season.

In Weston, Kloe had a hard time, managing a bronze medal in the Kumite. The Kata category saw all black belts under 16 in the same pool, and giving away up to three years was too much for her.

Brad has proved himself Wales' No 1 on many occasions, and looked favourite to add the WKU Kata title to his name. He reached the final, but was unlucky to see two flags go to his English opponent.

Having represented Karate Wales at an international event in Venice earlier in the month, the experience gained there seemed to have given Brad's Kumite an extra dimension as he beat some of Britain's finest young karate fighters on the way to the gold medal.

Brad and Kloe's mum Heidi juggles her karate with a recent career move, but her dedication is a lesson to many young squad members. Beginning karate in her early 30s, she has shone from the outset, and last year won a silver medal in the Ladies' Veteran (35 years and above) category at the British Karate Federation Championships.

This year she replicated that achievement at the Karate England Open in Loughborough and, after another impressive display, again won silver in Weston.

The WKU Invitational brought the curtain down on another hugely successful year for Vale Karate, which has seen the winning of more than 140 titles and over 300 minor medals.

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