UEL chair of the board of governors Geoff Thompson signs up for 10k Karate Clash
Chair Geoff Thompson is a five-time karate world champion
The five-time world karate champion, Geoff Thompson, is coming out of retirement at age 61 for what he says is a ‘fight to save young lives’. The chair of the board of governors at the University of East London (UEL) will compete in the ‘10k Karate Clash’, the richest prize in traditional karate.
The decision to return to competitive combat on Easter Sunday, 21 April, came about because of what Mr Thompson describes as a ‘crisis on our streets’. In 2018, the Metropolitan Police investigated 135 homicides, 40 per cent of whom were men under the age of 30. These deaths were heavily concentrated in the 15-24 age group, something which has continued to cause the world-class athlete anguish.
The 10K Karate Clash pits 32 men in a winner-takes-all series of clashes under World Karate Federation rules. The competition started in 2002, stopped in 2007, and re-launched in 2017.
In an interview with competition organisers, Mr Thompson said, “I realised that fighting for the streets, rather than for me, was the greatest motivation I could have in pursuing excellence. This isn’t about me asking questions of myself and answering them. I still consider loss of life on the streets as unacceptable, and this is my way of answering the issue. This is my way of bringing it back to the forum and bringing it to this generation. Ultimately I’m fighting on the square for those off the square.
“This is my call to action to the martial arts community. We do face a crisis. If I could ask the martial arts community for something, it would be to give back two hours a week. If we all did that, I think we could provide massive positivity of human spirit. Why can’t we go back to dominating the world in our respective combat sports?”
The project will be a family affair, with Mr Thompson's wife Janice Argyle Thompson, who is also a former world karate champion, coaching her husband. She has set up a ‘Total Giving’ page, which pledges that all the money raised will be used for the social coaches leadership programme, a joint project between the University of East London and Mr Thompson's Youth Charity charity, which empowers at-risk youth through sports, art and culture. Anyone who wishes to sponsor Mr Thompson can do so at Youth Charter Donations.
The event is at the TROXY, 490 Commercial Road,London E1 0HX.
For more information about the event visit the 10k Karate Clash website.
Purchase tickets here.