Lancashire TelegraphKarate: It’s tears to cheers for Imogen (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Karate: It’s tears to cheers for Imogen

Lancashire Telegraph: Imogen (left) with Danielle Dunn (Centre) and Courtney Dean Gallagher Imogen (left) with Danielle Dunn (Centre) and Courtney Dean Gallagher

IMOGEN Skipper turned tears to cheers after helping the Amateur Martial Association of Great Britain win the SKSM Malta Open Karate Championships.

The 16-year-old from Blacksnape was hoping to go one better than the silver she won in last year’s youth category but was left devastated after being eliminated at the quarter final stage.

However, the talented teenager composed herself to help the AMA go on and be crowned tournament champions.

The championships, held in Dingli, was the largest in its history with more than 500 karate players competing.

A confident Skipper - competing in the same 15-17 year old youths’ category she finished as runner-up last year - was hoping for gold but finished out of the medals.

“When I went back to the spectator seats I wanted to cry,” she said. “But as I watched my team-mates stepping on to the podium I knew I needed to be there.”

She went on to compete in the senior female event and fought her way to the final where she was up against fellow AMA athlete Sgt Hayley Just - a black belt and Combined Services Sportswoman of the year.

In what was a bruising battle, the more experienced Just won 5-2 with Imogen taking silver.

Imogen, a member of Tower Shukokai who trains under Andy Allwood, and her father Martyn Skipper, then compete in the Youths’ team event alongside compatriots Danielle Dunn and Courtney Dean Gallagher. And the trio went on to beat the Maltese team in the final to take gold.

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