7 - Year - Old Swipes Silver For Uae In International Karate Championship

7-year-old swipes silver for UAE in international karate championshipA seven-year-old Syrian boy has proven his fighting prowess by winning a silver medal in an international karate competition, despite falling ill before the event.
Suqrat Badrieh was one of five members representing the UAE at the World Shotokan Karate Federation’s 12th International Championship in Tokyo last month.

He was the only member of the team who won a medal, narrowly losing in the finals of the 7-to-10 age group competition against a 9-year-old boy.

His sensei [teacher], Ibrahim Chaliyath, an Indian who is the head of the UAE branch of the WSKF, said many other competitors at the tournament had complimented Suqrat’s ability.

“Everybody approached us because he is a small kid but has the standards of an adult,” he said.

Mr Chaliyath is a sixth dan black belt in karate who has been practising since 1982 and coaching since 1986.

“I have never seen anyone like this type of student before,” he said.

Suqrat has been practising for two years, training two hours on weekdays and four to six hours on weekends. Already, he is a second dan black belt.

Before the tournament in Japan, participants took a 10-day training course.

Unfortunately, Suqrat took a fever shortly after his arrival and was in hospital for three days.

As soon as recovered, he eagerly joined in the training. “When he did not find a place to train, he even trained on the pavements in the street,” said his father, Ashraf Badrieh, who is a second dan black belt.

“His only concern was to practise. He would practise the katas (exercises) 30 times a day.”

Mr Badrieh believed his son’s manners and behaviour have improved a lot since he took up Shotokan, which is the most popular form of karate. Abdullah bin Haidar, a host on Abu Dhabi TV, is a fan of martial arts and has been watching Suqrat’s performances closely.

“I have seen how his character has transformed since he started practising Shotokan,” he said. “When you see him, you can’t say he is a child. He is an adult champ.”

Mr bin Haidar plans to enrol his children Seif, 10, Dana, 7 and Zayed, 5, in Shotokan classes once the academy near his house opens.

One of Suqrat’s finest traits, Mr bin Haidar said, is that he extends his hands to help his opponent off the floor after he has felled them.

“We are proud to have someone like Suqrat representing the UAE worldwide,” Mr bin Haidar said. “As our leaders have taught us, there is no difference between nationals and expats, we are all sons of this country.”

Recently, the UAE Shotokan team received an invitation to the United World Karate Federation in Serbia this December.

“I am confident Suqrat will win,” Mr Chaliyath said.