NEWCASTLE Emlyn has a new British karate champion after Lily Rees lifted the crown at the 51st KUGB national championships.

The 15-year-old from Tekki RS karateka won the title in the 12-15 age group over 5ft 3ins at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.

It is a first national title for Lily, who was third last year in the same competition and is the current Welsh champion, a title which she will defend next month.

Lily, who has been fighting competitively since she was 10, will also be hoping to follow in the footsteps of elder sister Hannah, 19, who went on to win a European championship and has recently joined the army.

It was a proud moment for dad and club instructor Mike Rees and there was cause for a double celebration for the club as 14-year-old Bethany Nelson finished third in her section in the 12-15 age group under 5ft 3ins. Both Lily and Bethany are in the Welsh squad.

“Hopefully Lily will now take part in the Grand Slam where all the countries from Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland compete again each other and fingers crossed that she might be selected for the European or Worlds in the next couple of years,” said Mike.

It has been a busy time for the Tekki RS shotokan karate club in the past few weeks, with Cerys Thomas and Emily Hazelby gaining their 1st dans (black belt) at Rhyl. They showed true martial arts spirit in all aspects of their grading and have now both been selected for the Junior Welsh squad.

The club trains at Newcastle Emlyn Leisure Centre on a Wednesday night, regularly attracting 25 junior and senior members.