South Tyneside karate couple celebrate gold medal-winning success on world stage
A South Tyneside couple gave their opponents the chop as they shone on the world stage.
Brian Hall and Hayley Just, from Simonside, South Shields, both won gold medals at the World Union of Karate-Do Federations World Championships, in Dublin.
The engaged pair took home a total of eight medals between them as they represented their country in the prestigious competition.
Brian, 48, won one individual gold, and a silver and bronze in team events, while Hayley, 37, won one individual gold, one team gold and three team silvers.
They both coach classes at Brinkburn CA, off Harton Lane, South Shields, and Brian describes karate as their “life”.
This was their biggest success to date.
Brian said: “There were people in the competition from all over the world, with over 2,000 competing.
“We were part of a 107-strong England team, and we accounted for three of the team’s eight gold medals.
“I’ve been training and competing for 30 years, but had never won the World Championships before, so this was massive.”
Brian also coaches the army karate squad, having been in the army himself for 28 years. Hayley is the team’s captain.
He added: “Karate is our life, so it’s a good job we share it.
“We both joined the army’s karate team nine years ago, and we were friends for five years before getting together four years ago.
“Now, we train on most nights, and on weekends we’re nearly always competing.
“Everything is geared towards big events like this, and we support each other a lot when we’re competing.
“I coach her and she coaches me. I always listen to her more than anyone else.”
The couple are planning to get married in 2018.
In karate, meanwhile, their next major challenge is expected to come in October when they compete in the European Championships, which are being held in early October.