It was when he was a six-year-old at Longstone Primary School that Kyle Thomson enjoyed a taster session in karate. Now in his sixth year at Firrhill High in Edinburgh, he returned to school last week as the European Champion in his age group in the 68 kilos category.
Kyle travelled to the Europeans in Belgium as one of a big squad of karate youngsters from the Chris Ewing Club.
“It was when Chris came to my primary school ten years ago that I first sampled karate,” said the 16-year-old. “At first it was fun, and then I started to compete.”
Following his European success, he is now waiting to hear if he has gained entry to the British training squad.
Firrhill High not only basks in the glory of talented sports pupils, it actively backs them.
“We have an Athletes Support Programme and there are swimmers, and football, hockey and rugby players in the group,” added Kyle.
The selected members get the chance to take time out to compete in events and their timetables are adjusted to suit their sporting needs.
“It’s now quite big,” added the final-year student. “We also have sports people who come in to the school to give us talks, and advice.”
With three Highers also on his agenda this session, it is a busy time for Kyle. He hopes to go on to college and eventually qualify as a physical education teacher.
He also wants to go as far as possible in karate, but the ultimate goal is to become a coach and pass on his expertise to others.