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A Nescot Sport student is a world karate champion, after winning three gold and two bronze medals at an international contest this summer.

Olivia Lusted, a second-year Level 3 student, won two individual medals and three team medals at the FSKA Shotokan Karate World Championships at Crawley’s K2 Arena in July.

“I’ve won national titles before but never an international title, so it feels very special,” she said. “All my family were there watching me compete, as well as lots of people from my club.

“The arena was a bit intimidating, and I felt really nervous, but it’s worth the nerves when you can turn them to your advantage and put in a good performance.”

Olivia started learning karate at the age of seven, and got her black belt when she was 15. She trains four or five times a week at Mo-Ichido Martial Arts in Horton Country Park, where she also teaches.

“Karate has given me a still inner confidence, and I’d recommend it to anyone,” said Olivia.

“Partly it’s having the confidence that I can defend myself physically if I need to, but it’s also about feeling comfortable in my own skin.”

Olivia, who broke her wrist before the competition and only had her cast removed several weeks before competing, praised the support she’s had from Nescot staff.

“The teachers are really supportive and encouraging,” she said. “They understand the sports industry, and they’re so good at helping us to apply what we’re learning to our own training and competitions.”

Olivia said learning Anatomy and Physiology last year had helped her to improve her karate technique, and this term’s Nutrition and Sports Psychology units are opening up new career ideas to her.

She is now looking ahead to the European championships in Florence in Italy in November. She hopes to work full-time as a karate coach in the future, and dreams of opening up her own karate school.

“I love teaching karate, and I want to give people the same self-confidence and drive that my coaches gave me,” she said.

“I’m really enjoying what I’m learning at Nescot, and I’m hoping to use the skills and knowledge to improve my karate training and competitions, as well as in my own teaching.”

Matt Lavallin, Head of Sport, Uniformed Public Services and Travel and Tourism at Nescot, congratulated Olivia on her success at the world championships.

“We were delighted to hear about her much-deserved success,” he said. “As a department we work hard to support students with their training and competitions, and to help them apply those skills and techniques to future career opportunities.”

Nescot offers Sports qualifications to school leavers at Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, with three different pathways at Level 3, according to your interests and career plans.

The college also runs an HND in Sport and Exercise Science, as well as related qualifications in Osteopathic Medicine.