Hastings teenager triumphs at world championships

A 14-year-old Hastings girl has become a world champion in Muay Thai (Thai boxing).
Valentina Barbosa. SUS-190811-153305001Valentina Barbosa. SUS-190811-153305001
Valentina Barbosa. SUS-190811-153305001

Valentina Barbosa was just ten when she received her black belt in karate.

She then developed an interest in kickboxing and Muay Thai and now, after years of determination, has received international recognition.

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Valentina’s mother Kelly Allen said: “Her love of this sport keeps her fit and healthy rather than hanging around the streets doing nothing. She attends Rye College – the school are very proud of their student and continue to support her achievements.”

Kelly said her daughter followed in her brother’s footsteps by doing karate as a hobby.

She added: “Valentina stands by her words that to achieve this status you need to be not only physically ready but also mentally ready.”

The International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Championships took place in Ireland last month, and saw athletes from more than 20 countries competing.

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Valentina said: “Getting in the ring is such a good feeling and I want to help younger children get to that place.”

Valentina said she was more nervous during the opening ceremony, when she led the team as the flag bearer, than entering the ring.

She trained with the England squad prior to the championship for six months, and was up against German opponents who were bigger than her.

As well as working on her strength and fighting skills five times a week, she attends four-hour training sessions in locations around England.

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The young martial artist also coaches other young people aged five and up at Double K Hastings gym, based at The Fighters Loft, Harrow Lane.

Valentina has also won two European and a British title, with the help of her personal coaches Jamie McGuigan and Marlon Gillet.

Valentina is now looking for other sponsors to help her get to the 2019 WKO Open World Championships.

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