A sports student has returned to Writtle College an international martial arts champion.
Simon Best, who has just started his final year of a sports and exercise performance degree, won double gold and a silver in an international martial arts event.
The 24-year-old, who lives in South Woodham Ferrers, won a gold medal in the open-weight GI grappling at the recent WOMAA (World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes) games in Telford – and beat an opponent outweighing him by 40kgs in the final.
Simon, who was part of the Team GB squad from BFKKO (British Freestyle Karate and Kickboxing Organisation), also won gold in the -81kg GI grappling and silver in the -81kg no-GI grappling in the three-day event.
Simon, who trains at the 5 Elements Martial Arts Academy in Basildon, said: “It’s a great feeling to return to Writtle College with two gold medals and a silver. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s finally paid off.
“This is the first international event that I’ve been placed in first – I won silver last year so I had the incentive to come back this year with a bit of a vengeance! It’s a great feeling to be able to call yourself champion!”
Simon, who is hoping to become a primary school teacher after completing his studies at Writtle College, has practised martial arts since the age of 10 and instructs 3- to 16-year-olds in kickboxing in Basildon.
Mark Walker, Acting Head of School of Sport, Animal & Equine Science at Writtle College, congratulated Simon on his achievements: “Simon’s achievement is outstanding and thoroughly deserved, I am so pleased for him.
“All of the sports science staff at Writtle have worked with elite athletes and so we understand the hard work and sacrifice that goes into competing at the highest level. This has been a long journey for Simon, but now he has tasted success I am sure there’s even more to come.”