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World champ in fight for funds

PUBLISHED: 11:36 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:48 25 August 2010

TALENT: Tyrone Briscoe.

TALENT: Tyrone Briscoe.

A TEENAGE karate World Champion who overcame heart surgery could have his hopes dashed of defending his title due to a funding crisis. Tyrone Briscoe, 14, of Thanet Road, Erith, was described as an inspiration to other children by his medical team but

A TEENAGE karate World Champion who overcame heart surgery could have his hopes dashed of defending his title due to a funding crisis.

Tyrone Briscoe, 14, of Thanet Road, Erith, was described as an "inspiration to other children" by his medical team but could miss out on the Karate World Championship in Poland this September unless funding can be secured for expensive training fees.

Last year the talented Karate Kid had to turn down an invitation to train in Japan and take part in the Japanese Seiwaka Gasshuku tournament because his parents could not fund the £3,000 trip.

He is trying to raise funds for the tournament again this year in July.

Mum Pauline Briscoe, 49, is heartbroken and said more grants should be available to youngsters: "If anything tragic happens to a teenager on the streets due to knife crime, everyone is interested. But why isn't there more money made available and more energy put into preventing that crime?

"There is so much that could be done. There are a lot of kids doing positive things but they never get a look in."

Tyrone was born with his heart's arteries back to front and needed resuscitating at birth and a life-saving operation to switch his arteries the right way round.

Surgeons also took a part of his rib to reinforce a fused lower spine, which needed him to wear a body brace in bed.

As if that wasn't a big enough challenge, not only was he born with one kidney, but corrective surgery to tendons in his legs when he was younger meant months of wearing plaster casts.

His proud mum said: "The doctors said he wouldn't be able to continue with Karate, which Tyrone didn't take very well.

"So I went down to the dojo (Karate training venue) with the intention of getting the instructor to tell him straight. But he wouldn't take no for an answer and did what he could wearing plaster casts."

She said the fact that Karate is not an Olympic event has made it even more difficult finding funding to compete.

Tyrone's Sensei (instructor) for the last nine years, Marie Tanabalan, said: "Tyrone is a real go-getter and has fighting spirit. He is a positive role model for children, overcoming his physical difficulties to be one of the best."

She added: "There is no recognised governing body for Karate in this country, which means funding cannot come from Sport England and the athletes suffer.

"Tournaments are expensive and parents can only fund so much.

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