The talented James Cape and Natalie Hoffman won the top accolades when the 2013 achievement awards were presented to the students of the Otley and Harrogate karate centres.

The Bridge Church-based Otley Karate Centre’s chief instructor, 8th degree black belt shihan Ken Gee, gave out the awards.

Presented annually for the past 35 years, the prizes fall into two age groups, under-15 years and 16 years and over.

Nominees must have followed closely the strict code of conduct and self discipline expected of a karatae-ka (karate student).

They must also have experienced success in either of the two main disciplines of karate which are kata – traditional form – and kumite which is free fight-ing.

James and Hofman were selected from a strong list of nominations for the club’s top accolades.

James, 15, a 2nd degree black belt, took the award in the junior category while 17-year-old Nat-alie, also a 2nd degree black belt won the senior category, for the second year running.

Shihan Gee said of their achievements: “Last year James, a year 11 student at St Mary’s School, Menston and Natalie, a year 12 student at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, were exceptional, with both rising to the very top level in European all-styles competition.

“Although heavily involved in karate for the past 11 years, both are greatly involved in other areas.

“James plays football for Ilkley Juniors and has won many top sporting awards including his school’s Jamie Payne-Ross award, which was presented to him by Leeds United’s Aiden White.

“Natalie’s other passion is music. She plays solo tenor horn for Wharfe Brass and she was part of the show band for Otley Grammar School’s recent prod-uction of Guys and Dolls.”

l For details of classes at the Otley and Harrogate Karate Centres visit their website or phone Ken Gee sensei on 01423-858474.