International success has left Thaxted Dragons Karate Club on cloud nine.

A squad of 13 travelled to Las Vegas with sensei Barry Healy to compete in the North American Open Karate Championships.

The competition attracted athletes from 23 countries, including the Japan, Peru, Mexico and Canada, and proved an exciting, challenging and demanding competition.

But their commitment paid off and the Thaxted club returned with 17 medals, three of the gold and five silver.

They also placed 26th out of the 125 teams taking part, a fine achievement for the small club who took members aged from eight to 19.

But there is no time to bask in the glory as the squad are straight back into training, preparing for competitions in Clacton, Manchester and Birmingham over the next couple of months.

All that is with one eye on the European Karate Championships, taking place in November in Poland.

A spokeswoman said: "Karate teaches respect, resilience, discipline and improves fitness and coordination but is also lots of fun.

"Thaxted's Barry Healy is a very talented and experienced sensei who teaches children from the age of three, all the way up to adults, three nights a week in Bolford Street Hall, Thaxted."

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