Leah's passion for karate pays off on world stage

Leah Tanna-Shah was celebrating in Slovakia
Leah Tanna-Shah was celebrating in Slovakia

Northampton Jindokai Karate Club starlet Leah Tanna-Shah is celebrating after grabbing gold at the 2019 WUKF Karate World Championships in Slovakia.

Tanna-Shah was competing in the Kata Shorin Ryu Female Cadets B All Belts 14 to 15 years category and managed to emerge victorious.

The 15-year-old saw off the challenge of USA duo Mailee Sherman and Elleah Neal, who finished second and third respectively.

Tanna-Shah, who has been involved in karate since the age of six, only started competing two years ago.

But she has already secured more than 20 medals in national and international competitions combined.

“I personally loved the experience and it was mesmerising seeing the stadium and actually performing in it, knowing that there were thousands of people watching,” Tanna-Shah said.

“I also enjoyed watching and learning from others as well as learning from my mistakes.

“If you had asked me two years ago when I first started competing I would be absolutely sure that I would come last or certainly not win anything at this level, however it was my goal at this point to win, even though I wasn’t sure if it was possible.

“You need to go into these kind of competitions with some confidence, and I knew that I had the training and preparation to succeed to some extent.”

Tanna-Shah currently attends Northampton High School and she trains with sensei Eddie Cinquini at Northampton Jindokai Karate Club.

She has also recently been part of the national AMA squad sessions in Bury, working with Peter Allen.

“I have been attending Northampton High School since year six,” Tanna-Shah said. “The support they have given me has been great and I appreciate it greatly.

“I also want to say thank you so much to all of the AMA coaches who supported me in Bratislava and to my amazing sensei, Eddie Cinquini, who has been coaching me since I was six years old. He taught me all of the basics that karate is based on.”

Tanna-Shah has also grown up with passions for dance, badminton and swimming, but it is clear that karate has been her main love.

And she would like to help to inspire younger generations as the years go on.

“My attention has turned to karate due the love I have for it,” she said. “I spend the majority of my free time on it.

“At the moment I am a junior sensei at my club, allowing me to sometimes teach and support younger generations in my club.

“However, through media and my school, I hope to inspire more and more people to take up karate as a sport, hobby, self-defence, the skill of dedication, perseverance and enjoyment, which most definitely comes from the practice of karate.”

So what’s next for Tanna-Shah?

“My next target is to carry on training and perfecting my performance,” she said.

“I also want to achieve more highly in the open categories, competing against all styles of karate in the near future.

“I will continue to attend competitions and hope to learn how to have a consistent performance.”