Boro Taxis has kicked started a fundraising campaign to support five talented Teesside youngsters who have been selected to represent England at the World Kickboxing Championships.
The children, whose ages range from six to 12, are all members of the M.A-X Training Academy in Middlesbrough and have been crowned national or European titleholders to qualify for the World Championships.
Heading for the prestigious competition in Portugal in October are: Adam Ullah, aged six, and his sister Angeli, 10, of Linthorpe, Warren Green, eight of Beechwood, Holly Underwood, 12, of Saltersgill, and Saran Hill, eight, of Acklam.
The achievements of the young kickboxers were brought to Boro Taxis’ attention as Adam and Angeli are the children of one of their taxi drivers, Ashik Ullah.
In preparation for the tournament, each of the five strong team is dedicating six days a week to training, putting in at least an hour a day.
Mohammed Bashir, founder of Boro Taxis, one of the largest firms of its kind in the North East, said: “It is fantastic that five local youngsters all have qualified for the World Kickboxing Championships. It really is a proud moment for Teesside as well as for M.A-X Training Academy and all its members.
“When we heard from Ashik about his children’s success and the fact their club needed financial help, to pay for the accommodation and flights and other expenses surrounding getting them to Portugal, we were only too happy to help.
“These youngsters are a credit to the area and they are working so hard to achieve their dreams. We wish them well at the World Championships and are sure they will do Teesside proud.”
Samantha Johnson, M.A-X Training Academy Manager, said: “We never have had so many members qualify for the World Kickboxing Championships at one time and they are all an inspiration to the whole club.
“We are extremely proud of Adam, Angeli, Holly, Saran and Warren, whose dedication is second-to-none. Attending the World Championships will be a brilliant experience for them.
“It will cost about £6,000 for the six days that the team will be in Portugal and we are very grateful to Boro Taxis for getting our fundraising efforts off to such a good start with its generous donation of £1,000.”
During the last few years, the youngsters all have notched up a number of significant victories on their journey to being selected for the World Championships.
At the age of seven, Saran became the youngest kick boxing black belt in the North East attaining the highest A+ grading. She has achieved Silver and Gold at national level and won Bronze and Silver medals in the European Championships.
Angeli has won Silver at the Europeans and Bronze at the FSK Grand Championship. Both she and her brother Adam took Gold in this year’s English National Championships.
Warren has been Gold and a Bronze medallist at national and a Silver medallist at European level.
Holly’s achievements comprise Gold and Silver in the English Championships and Gold and Silver in the Europeans.
Samantha added that learning martial arts was a great way of helping people not only to get fit, but with their dexterity, including eye and hand co-ordination. It also had emotional and mental wellbeing benefits such as boosting self-esteem and confidence.
M.A-X Training Academy, based in Bright Street, Middlesbrough, has been in existence 16 years and has almost 200 members aged from four to 60-plus.