CITY based martial arts academy ‘Icon’ did Milton Keynes proud at a national Jiu Jitsu tournament last weekend – with 10-year-old Dylan Barea’s gold medal win the highlight.
Icon’s squad of 26 – eight of which were children – competed at the Brighton Open and brought home a total of 18 medals – five gold, five silver and eight bronze.
But it was Dylan who stole the show as he claimed a prestigious gold medal in his age group competition, just a couple of days after turning 10.
Despite the distraction of his birthday, the Brooksward School pupil went into his first big tournament having trained exceptionally hard under the supervision of instructor Ze Marcello – an accomplished fighter in his own right having been world champion twice.
Dylan was extremely nervous going into the contest, but overcame the anxiety to do his club and city proud, eventually winning his final on points.
“I was so nervous before my first fight and when they called my name I felt sick,” he said.
“But I went anyway and after I won my first fight I felt better because I realised that I was actually able to win.”
“I was so happy! And everyone in my team was happy too. My dad fought in the same competition and won a bronze medal, so we were both smiling for the rest of the day.”
Coach Ze Marcello wasn’t surprised by Dylan’s win and has tipped him for further success in the future.
He said: “He deserved to win. He’s a good boy, has a great attitude and really applies himself at training. He has a great future.”
And mum Clara was delighted to see her son’s hard work pay off, saying: “Since the beginning, Jiu Jitsu has been great for his self-esteem, but winning the gold medal has taken him to a new level. He’s so excited and we are too, of course. But we would have all been proud of him anyway.”
Dylan took his gold medal to Brooksward School on Monday morning and showed if off to his friends and teachers. And head teacher Debbie Dawson hopes Dylan’s achievement will inspire his fellow pupils in sport.
She said: “We’re proud to have a national winner attending the school – he’s really enthusiastic about this sport, has clearly worked hard, shown real commitment and richly deserves this success.”