NINE members of an East Lothian karate club will fly the flag for Scotland at the European Championships next year.

Joe Gallagher, Benjamin Packwood, Lottie Burnham, Caitlin Kelly, Kori Fital, Neve Ewing, Daniel Lyons, Scott Anderson and Carly McNab have been named in the national squad ahead of the event in the Czech Republic.

Each of the nine karatekas are members of Chris Ewing Karate, which is based on Musselburgh High Street.

Chris, who had his own success at an international level, was thrilled with the achievement of the members.

He said: “It is amazing.

“To have nine members selected for the national team for a European Championships or World Championships is pretty good.

“Normally, I have had one or the most I have had was four for an event but to get nine; I’m shocked that it has happened but so proud of them.”

The 49th EKF Junior and Cadet and Under-21 Championship takes place in Prague in February.

Countries from throughout Europe will come together for the competition, with more than 20 people representing Scotland at the event.

To be selected, each had to win a fight-off in Stirling for their spot in the squad.

Ewing was pleased to say they “all did amazing and did the business”.

Gallagher will compete in Cadet male -52kg, while Packwood is in the Cadet male -63kg.

Burnham will represent Scotland in Cadet female -47kg as Kelly fights in Cadet female -54kg and Fital is in the Junior female -59kg category.

Ewing competes in Junior female +59kg, Lyons in Junior male -61kg, Anderson in Junior male -76kg and McNab in U21yrs female -61kg.

Chris Ewing, 41, highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic had brought issues for the athletes, who were unable to travel to competitions due to restrictions.

However, he was confident that Scotland would do well at the competition but highlighted how the situation differed in other countries.

He said: “It is so hard because a lot of the athletes are fully funded.

“Karate, for most countries, is one of their national sports.

“They will get fully funded and if they get medals they get money on top of that.”

Ewing set up Chris Ewing Karate, which trains in Wado-Kai, in 2005 and has watched the club grow to now have between 200 and 300 members.

Earlier this year, he achieved his dream of opening up his own dojo in Musselburgh, having previously been based in primary schools and sports centres.

It marks the latest step on an impressive journey that saw him take up the sport in 1986 when he was just six years old.

Since then, he has won titles including the Scottish, British, European and Commonwealth Championships.