Oaklands Alumnus crowned as World Karate Champ

04 December 2016
What do basketball and karate have in common? An awful lot, according to former Oaklands student Jordan Thomas who has just won international accolade at the highest level by taking the title of World Karate Champion. 

24-year-old Jordan Thomas from Luton left the College in 2012 after studying Personal Training and playing for Oaklands Wolves Basketball Academy. 

He stormed through the ranks of the 2016 World Championships in an unprecedented win coming out victorious in the kumite -67kg division in Linz, Austria despite ranking outside the favourites at eleventh at the competition’s start. He also marks great Britain’s first gold in Karate World Championships in over 12 years. 

Thomas defeated Hungarian world number two Yves Martial Tadissi in the final to take the title. All eyes will now undoubtedly be on Jordan as ‘one to watch’ in karate following the recent announcement that the sport will make its official Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. 

Speaking of his win, he says: “It is truly incredible to call myself a World Champion, I can’t stop grinning. I was ready to win – not just physically but mentally too. I went in with a winning attitude, kept control of myself, and played to my strengths. Karate is in my blood – the influence of my father’s successes and his peers meant from an early age I knew this is all I wanted to do.

The win is very much an Oaklands family affair with Jordan following in the footsteps of father William Thomas who also took the title in gold back in 1992. Thomas Snr is also Oaklands Alumnus, having taught Sport at the College from 2009 to 2015. He is now the England Karate national team coach.

He adds: “My time at Oaklands was so valuable and I’ll always be thankful to the coaches here for the skills I learnt, both on and off the court. On the face of it karate and basketball are two very different disciplines but the skills from one helped the other. Control, focus, forward-thinking, posture and movement – it’s all relevant.”

Head Coach of Basketball Michael Ball said: “Jordan always gives 100 per cent. Whatever task he’s given, he wants to be the best he can be. He joined Oaklands Wolves from the bottom up – despite being a master in his own sport he had to learn, adjust and fine-tune his skills to adapt to the game just like everyone else in the academy. 

He adds: “Not only was it great to see Jordan learn a new game and a complete different spectrum of skillset, but it’s fascinating to see him apply these disciplines to Karate. This ability to adapt and continue to challenge yourself are the hallmarks of the world’s best in sport.”

Jordan is taking the time to celebrate his success before heading back into training. Despite a hectic schedule after his win, he dedicated time to come back to College to personally catch up with his Coaches. He said: “The journey so far has been incredible. I’ve always known I wanted this, even from a boy. Whatever your ‘thing’ is in and around College– you can achieve it too. No one can stop you dreaming, if anything this is living proof it pays to dream big.”