MEMBERS of a karate club are getting a big kick out of taking part in a European competition.

Children and young adults from Ama Sensei Karate Club, based at Castle Leisure Centre in Bury, are among 1,400 competitors from 32 countries battling it out in the European Karate Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

The three days of contests, for nine to 21-year-olds, begin in earnest tomorrow, with Olympian Jessica Ennis Hill presenting awards to winners.

Club coach and president of the World Union of Karate-Do Federations (WUKF), Peter Allen, said: “This will truly be an event to remember. It is unlikely that an event of such scale will be held in the UK again in the near future.

“This is the first event of its kind in the WUKF, combining all age groups in one event and we expect it to be the best European Championships to date. I hope competitors, officials and spectators alike will take back many happy memories of Sheffield and our English culture.”

Another youngster taking part is 15 year-old Imogen Skipper, a pupil at Bury Grammar School, who trains at Tower Shukokai Karate Club in Edgworth, Bolton.

This is her first major international, and she will compete in the junior category. Her father, Martyn, aged 50, said: “I’m extremely proud of Imogen.

“She has barely slept in the last few days, she’s been that excited.

“This is a big step in her karate career. She has so much natural ability and I think she’ll be looking to win major titles in the coming years.”