DHF are proud to announce we are supporting Joseph Clifton, a para karate student from Claygate in Surrey, with his ambitions to represent England at this year’s World Championships in Dubai. Here is Joseph’s story:
My name is Joseph Clifton and I am 20 years old and live in Claygate, Surrey with my parents and sister. I attend The Orpheus Centre, a specialist college for the creative arts full-time and lead a busy life outside of college too.
I’ve never let my disability hold me back and have always enjoyed sports activities from a young age, including karate, football, basketball, horse riding and swimming. Aged 13 I started karate with Abel Karate in Molesey, as part of the Be Inspired Project. This was the beginnings of Abel Karate’s founder, Paul Abel’s quest to start accessible karate lessons for children and adults with disabilities. I’m pleased to say that with Sensei Paul’s expert coaching and encouragement, I have improved greatly. I now train in the mainstream classes, as well as volunteering as a junior coach with Abel Karate. I currently hold a yellow belt but am hoping I can eventually reach black belt standard!
In 2019 Sensei Paul put me in touch with Matthew Handley, the English Karate Federation’s National Para Squad coach. I was then attending national training sessions, aiming for selection for the para team in the 2020 Commonwealth Games, until the pandemic hit. I haven’t let this stop my dreams and have continued with my kata training throughout lockdown. We even built a dojo (a room/area for martial arts practice) in the garden! So, I have been lucky to be able to train both online with the National Para Squad and with Sensei Paul for 1:1 outdoor coaching, alongside Abel Karate’s regular classes. The World Karate Federation have a specific para category for athletes with Down’s Syndrome, so I am training hard with my kata and am aiming for selection to represent England at the Karate World Championships in Dubai in November 2021.
I am very excited to have the support of the Dylan Howells Foundation and thank you for being part of my exciting journey.