Northampton kickboxer Paige Gibson, 16, becomes world champion

A 16-year-old British kickboxer has been named as a martial arts world champion.

Paige Gibson from Northampton took the crown in the full contact category in the WKU World Championships in Canada.

She trains at the Endurance Martial Arts Academy in Northampton, which has also produced a British champion in the sport.

Paige described the world championship experience as "amazing" and said the result was completely unexpected.

"I started kickboxing and, ever since then, I've been training here," she said.

"I needed a family-run environment where it was friendly and I could get a good experience out of a sport that I had never tried."

She had to raise money so she could travel to Calgary for the event. Once she arrived, the schedule was quite intensive.

She said: "I was there for a week. I did my weigh-in on Monday and was fighting Wednesday and Thursday, and then I won the finals on Thursday and became world champion.

"I didn't really expect anything to come out of it apart from just an experience, so I was amazed.

"I made some really good friends as well from clubs around the UK."

Young man with ginger beard in fighting pose, older man with slight beard and teenage girl in fighting pose with red top and glasses
Two champions and their trainer - Joseph Ahmed, Shak Ahmed and Paige Gibson

Paige is not the first top-class competitor trained by the academy.

Joseph Ahmed said: "I started about 10 years ago, I've been doing it pretty much my whole life and became British champion in June, and got invited to do the World Championships."

Shak Ahmed, who coaches both Paige and Joseph, said: "We didn't think we would be this lucky, especially after Covid.

"We really struggled, [but] we managed to survive Covid. We're very lucky to be privileged to have such young talent with us."

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