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Geoff Thompson: The Karate King

BACK IN THE GAME: Geoff Thompson has been working to help youth in the years since his retirement, and says he wants his appearance at this weekend’s 10K Karate Clash to send a message to young people

GEOFF THOMPSON won multiple international titles during his career but having retired over 30 years ago many fans are wondering why on earth he’s coming back to compete at the 10K Karate Clash taking place this Easter Sunday.

Jordan Thomas, 26, won the biggest prize in the sport at the 2018 10K Karate Clash competition which took place at the Troxy in east London.

CALIBRE

It was a unsurprising win given the calibre of Thomas, although neutral observers will claim he made hard work of it on the night.

Moving forward 365 days many would have tipped him to do it again.


Thompson at the height of his career

What no one would have seen coming though, was the resurgence of a one-time super hero where British karate is concerned.

Thompson, 61, squares up against Rory Kavanagh in group four this weekend. What fans all over the world will want to know however, is what the motivation behind his involvement it.

“Lives being lost on our streets and too many of them look like us, that’s the motivation.” He passionately told the Voice of Sport.

He added: “Six prime ministers over 26 years have not developed any administration to genuinely and meaningfully grasp the issues and their cause and effect in how they impact our communities and our young people."

So, everyone has celebritised the issues which means I have to do something that is deemed to be impossible, that highlights the issue.

“We made a call to action on March 7 with Seb Coe asking the government for £11 million to empower our community and they gave £100 million to the police.”

In the three decades since he stepped off the square for the last time as a professional martial arts practitioner Thompson has been busy working to make his community a better place.

In 1993 following the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old in the Moss Side area of Manchester, Thompson founded the Manchester-based charity, the Youth Charter for Sport (YCS). Already a member of the GB Sports Council (now Sport England) he believed that sports could be a way to help disaffected youth and help move them away from a life of crime.

ARDUOUS

The 10K Karate Clash is the one showcase event that brings together the best of the best and produces the best of the best, time and time again with no guarantees. Thompson says he isn’t there to make up the numbers.

“This is the only thing I can do and I hope people take me seriously,” he enthused.

“I’m 61 years young. Tiger might have done it, Cracknell might have done it, but no one is about to do what I am about to do. “I have put myself through eight weeks of arduous training, I am not taking this lightly. I won’t start something unless I intend to finish it.

“I’m there to win. I’m not there to play, I’m not there to be treated as a pensioner should be, with good grace. I haven’t entered a veterans tournament.

“I can’t lose. I’m going back on that square and I’ll let people assess on the basis of what they see whether I’m slow or fast enough or whether I still have the commitment or desire borne out of fighting for the streets.”

Geoff Thompson’s karate honours

• World Championships, Individual Kumite (+60-kg) – 1st Place (1982)
• World Championships, Individual Kumite (+60-kg) – 2nd Place (1986)
• World Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1982, 1984, 1986)
• World Games, Individual Kumite(+60- kg) – 1st Place (1985)
• European Championships, Individual Kumite (+60-kg) – 2nd Place (1983)
• European Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1983, 1985)
• European Championships, Team Kumite – 3rd Place (1984)
• European Wado-ryu Championships, Individual Kumite – 1st Place (1977, 1980)
• European Wado-ryu Championships, Team Kumite – 1st Place (1977, 1980)
• European Wado-ryu Championships, Team Kumite – 3rd Place (1979)

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