Kirton call: Southwater siblings selected in England Taekwondo team
Two siblings from Southwater will look to be masters of the martial arts after being selected to represent International Taekwondo Federation's England team.
Thea and Theo Kirton, who are members of Crawley Down Taekwondo, will now travel to Tallinn, Estonia, in April for the European Championships, where they are hoping to battle to a medal place.
They will compete alongside 850 other athletes from 32 different countries with the week-long competition being shown live on television.
Tanbridge House School pupil Thea, 13 competed last year in at the European event held at Liverpool’s Echo Arena and came fourth.
Thea, a 1st Dan Black Belt, has also completed nationally and been on the podium at the London, Scottish, Welsh and UK Championships in 2017.
If she podiums in Tallinn, she is likely to be asked to compete at the World Championships to be held in Belarus in October.
Southwater Junior Academy pupil Theo, who is a Kup Red Belt, has also competed nationally, where he has secured podium places.
The pair also train at Caterham Taekwondo and undertake strength and core work at Evolution Fitness in Horsham.
Father Trevor says he and his wife Theresa are extremely proud of their children for their selection, but also see the practice providing much more than just a sport.
Trevor said: “Thea came fourth last time she competed for England and we are hoping she can go one, two or even three better, while my youngest has been selected for the first time.
“I am very, very proud. As a parent, especially nowadays when kids are getting into all sorts of things, I am happy from a number of perspectives. One, for my daughter, in today’s society I am happy she is able to defend herself.
“And two, I am pleased they are doing something that can be used as a life skill later in life.
“If they are trying to get a medal in front of 3,000 people, when it comes to needing to get a job, if they have to stand up in front of 12 people, it won’t be a problem.
“It can teach humility, spirit and self esteem. Myself and my wife are very proud from that perspective and it will keep their feet on the ground whether they medal or not. My mantra to them as a parent is to do their best.”