AT just 10 years of age, a Penarth girl has rounded off a string of top notch performances by being crowned a Welsh Karate League "Champion of Champions."

Vale Karate's Chiara Baker competed in all nine events in the WKL series which, having quickly established itself as Wales' premier karate tournament, attracted more the 900 competitors from over 40 clubs.

Winning six gold, one silver and two bronze medals in kata and two gold, one silver and three bronze in kumite, Chiara took the overall U10 individual title by just one point from Shauna Hayden (Ken Bu Kan, Swansea) and Vale Karate colleague Emma Squire, with the former earning second spot thanks to gaining more gold medals over the series. Chiara also took the advanced kata title and second place for kumite in her age group.

During a great year for Chiara, she won both her kata and kumite categories at the Central England Open, one of the UK's top events, in October, and topped that a few weeks later when she was crowned WUKF European Champion in the U10 kata category.

Celebrating her 10th birthday in December, Chiara, after six years' training, became eligible for the challenge of her junior black belt, which she passed with flying colours in March.

Chiara is one of Vale Karate's 10 WKL "champions," with the others being Danica Apologista, Emma Squire, Rhydian Pullin, Ben Harris, Ella Forsyth, Harrison Williams, Kloe Christoforato, Leah Copeland, who won both the senior women's awards, and Bradley James (U14 special needs category). Indeed, Vale Karate won the WKL top club award.

Chiara and clubmates Emma, Harrison, Kloe and Leah will be part of the Karate Wales squad travelling to Verona, Italy, in June for the WUKF European Championships, where Chiara steps up to the U12s and hopes to once again reach the podium.

The 2014 Welsh Karate League season kicks off at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff on Sunday and, with interest from across the UK, is expected to attract record numbers.

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