Magnificent seven looking for gold medal heaven

Seven promising youngsters from the Lothians headed off to Serbia today as part of a 15-strong Scottish team which will be competing in the European Junior Karate Championships.

Edinburgh trio David Bolton, Iona Frost and Rachel Gourlay are joined in the squad by Aaron Wood and Hanna Wood from West Lothian, Steven Wyllie from East Lothian and Chloe Maclean from Midlothian.

The teenagers - who all train at Meadowbank - will face a tough task in Eastern Europe given the quality of competitors they are likely to come up against over the next few days, but Hamish Adam, who coaches many of them, believes it will be a great experience for them.

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He said: "The guys have all been training really hard for this event for months now and I hope they go out there and give it their best shot. The main difference they will find at the event from the Scottish and British events they are used to competing in is the speed.

"You can be caught out in the blink of an eye against top competitors, but you never know what can happen and being involved in such a big event is something special for all these guys."

At the event - moved to Serbia from its original location of Turkey - Bolton, Wood and Maclean will be taking part in the under-21 age-group at various weights.

Frost, Gourlay and Wyllie compete in the 16-17 age group with 14-year-old Hanna Wood taking part in the 14-15 age group.

"The main competitors for the titles are likely to come from Serbia, Bosnia, France, Spain and Turkey as those countries put a lot of money behind the sport while the Scotland team have had to fund their own trip," Adam added.

The event starts on Friday and lasts until Sunday.