A MAN with Down’s syndrome who has won a black belt in karate is an “inspiration” to others, his father says.
Owain Poole, 26, of Oak Drive, Wrexham, took up Shotokan-style karate about four years ago to keep in shape and has steadly progressed through the grades.
He trains twice a week with Wrexham Bushido Karate Club at the Memorial Hall in Chester Street.
Proud dad Neville said the achievement was a “major step forward” for people living with the condition.
He added: “Although the training and concentration got more intense, he just focussed himself and kept at it.
“He wasn’t confident about taking the grading, but he took advice from the club instructors he trusts and stayed calm and focussed to pass.
“He is an inspiration for people with learning disabilities.”
Roger Williams, who instructs Mr Poole, says he has trained “religiously” to get where he is.
Mr Williams added: “He has done really well – he has trained religiously and he has progressed to a level that gives him credit.
“We don’t see labels, we see just see him as someone who does karate.
“He is treated the same as anyone else we train. It has certainly been very beneficial for Owain, he has learned to socialise and mix with other people at the classes.”
Mr Williams said it usually takes people about three years to reach black belt level.
Shotokan is the most widely practised style of karate in the world. Famous Shotokan black belts include action movie stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes, while survivalist Bear Grylls also holds one.