A South Tyneside couple have proved themselves as world stars after returning from a major karate championships with a host of medals.
Brian Hall, 47, and gilfriend Hayley Just, 36, recently returned to their South Shields home from the United World Karate (UWK) World Championships, in Koper, Slovenia.
After competing against people from all over the world, Hayley won a gold, silver and bronze medal, while Brian won two silvers.
More than 1,200 people entered the competition from 42 countries, but the South Tyneside pair did better than most.
Brian – who also coaches at Gakushuin North East, which has a weekly session at Brinkburn CA, off Harton Lane, South Shields – first took up karate in 1979, and holds a fifth degree black belt.
He was left delighted by his and his girlfriend’s latest success while representing England. Brian, who is originally from Consett, said: “It was brilliant, and we were delighted with how we did.
It was great that we both did so well, so we were able to share the successBrian Hall
“I had never won a world medal before, so it was particularly big for me.
“We were competing against people from countries from all over the world, and just to be part of the England team was an achievement, but to come back with medals was fantastic.
“It was great that we both did so well, so we were able to share the success.”
Brian also coaches the army karate squad, having been in the army himself for 28 years.
Five of those fighters were also at the championships, and they had a return of two golds, a silver and four bronzes.
Brian, who has trained a wide range of fighters over his years in coaching, added: “It’s good to put a bit back into the community, and I’ve trained people aged between five and 69.
“I’ve learned a lot from 25 years of competing, and it’s important to try and teach some of that to others.
“It’s more about learning how to defend yourself and to control your temper than how to fight.”
In Slovenia, Brian’s bronze medals came in the kata and team fighting categories, while Hayley won gold in the team kumite, silver in the individual kumite and bronze in the individual kata.
Next up for the pair is the UWK England Championships later this month, while the European Championships, in Romania, will follow next month.