Winning world titles and competing internationally in a sport you love can often seem like a distant dream. But with hard work and dedication dreams can be turned into realities and that is exactly what young Oliver Clarke is doing right now – at the age of ten!
In under two years of actively competing in kickboxing competitions, Oliver has been awarded 60 trophies, medals and belts and represented England in the International Combat Organisation (ICO) contest which took place in Italy.
It was at the contest in Italy where Oliver picked up six medals and was twice crowned world champion.
“I really enjoy the competition and the training, I never get bored,” said Oliver, of Bradwell.
“When I went to Italy it was amazing, I did not think it was going to be that big where we fought but it was, it was amazing.
“I definitely would like to fight abroad again.”
Oliver’s love for kickboxing started at the age of five and he is now a regular at T6 Gym in Burslem where he is coached by Matthew Wood and often receives guidance from Dave Morgan and Shane Porter. He is also regularly coached by former World Champion, Robert Ball in Walsall.
For Oliver seven days in a week is only just enough to satisfy the youngsters appetite to train and improve on his kickboxing technique – sometimes he can also be found testing his skills at Thai Boxing too.
And from the words of father Martin, it’s evident not only the success, but the dedication and determination shown by his son is undisputedly admired.
“We are very, very proud of him,” said Martin.
“We are very proud of his dedication, not many children of his age stick to things, but he’s been doing this now for five years.
“Every night he can be doing some training, he wants to train and he loves it. He loves doing the bleep test and sit ups and press ups – who likes doing press ups?
“I always thought he might be a footballer because I run football clubs and thought he may be interested in that, but we never forced him into the football.
“He chose his own direction and that’s what he wants to do.”
But despite Oliver’s hunger to be in the gym, he, and Martin, are aware of how important it is to have some time off.
“I do have to rest some days, my coaches do tell me and I know it is important to rest especially before a fight,” said Oliver.
Oliver, who has been greatly supported by family, friends and sponsors, is hoping to continue with his international competing status and is aiming to take part in the ICO World contest 2019 in Canada.
“We have received so much support and I’d like to thank everybody, family, friends, sponsors – everybody” said Martin.
“If it wasn’t for all the support we have had then Oliver wouldn’t have been able to compete in some of the competitions he has.”
Oliver has dreams, he’s fulfilling his own dreams, but he also wants to be able to help others in the future.
“I like helping the younger kids,” he said.
“I would like them to be just as good as me when they are older and I want to pass on the cycle.
“When I am older the thing I’d like to do is open my own gym to teach children the skills I have learned, so they can win trophies and be the best.”
Oliver Clarke has a determined attitude only to be admired. At age ten this youngster is without doubt a rising star and one the martial arts fraternity will be keeping a very close eye on…