RIBBLE Valley’s golden boy Henry Wakes has conquered Europe after landing the Stuttgart Judo Open International in Germany.
The 15-year-old, a Year ten pupil at Clitheroe’s Ribblesdale High School, won gold at the Open International, one of Europe’s most coveted judo tournaments.
It completes a string of of gold medals for the teenage talent who is taking the judo world by storm following a season's long run of stunning performances.
Now the 2014 British champion is aiming to qualify for the Youth Olympics in Turkey next year as he continues to progress through the ranks.
Proud father Craig said: “Henry is a very dedicated and modest lad who has worked very hard to achieve this and we are very proud of him.
“There are a lot of distractions at the age he is, but he trains four nights a week and he is involved in competitions most weekends.
“Hopefully he will keep on improving and enjoying judo.”
Henry, ranked number one in his weight category, trains with the English Talent Development Squad and his father added: “We travel to St Helens twice a week to the SKK Judo Club and to Walsall every Tuesday after school to meet up with the Elite Development Squad, so it is very hectic for him.
“Sometimes we only get home at midnight after a long day, but he loves the sport.”
The youngster kick-started his golden run by lifting the Flanders Cup in Belgium, before crossing the border to win the Venray Open International title in the Netherlands – beating the Dutch champion in the under 46 kilo category.
His latest honour – the Stuttgart International crown – is a far cry from his formative years competing with Shadsworth Judo Club.
“We took him down to Shadsworth when he was six, and it was just something that Henry seemed to enjoy,” he added.
“He has proved to be a natural talent, but he realized that to beat the best he had to train more and travel further afield to compete. A lot of people have helped him, including Joe Burns at the Beach Judo Club in Audley and when Henry leaves school next year he is hoping to attend Camberley Judo Club, where a lot of the Olympic competitors train, and take up judo full-time.”