13-year-old Evan Squires has been in Karate since he was a little boy. The Airdrie youth has a brown belt in Shotokan karate and a few weeks ago he also won second place at the Karate National Championships that were hosted in St. John's Newfoundland, which ran from July 1-3. 

Evan won silver in both the -40kg youth Kumite category as well as silver in the youth Kata category. 

"He competes in both the Kumite and Kata; Kumite is the fighting portion and the Kata is the performance part," said Christopher Squires, Evan's father. "

His mom, Namjal Squires says that it's quite rare that karate athletes compete in both categories as the training is gruelling. On a regular schedule, Evan will go to the dojo three times a week for two-and-a-half hours. However, when a competition looms, like the one he competed in, he trains every day.

"He's the only double medal from the provincial team. It's hard enough to medal in one category, there are not many athletes that do both," she said. "Aside from those regular classes, he does additional classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Basically, it's five days a week in the dojo and at home, That's why a lot of athletes will focus on one or the other [category]."

The karate Alberta team before a banquet in their honor. Evan Squires and all other medalists were in the front row, proudly displaying their medals (Photo provided by Christopher Squires)The karate Alberta team before a banquet in their honour. Evan Squires and all other medalists were in the front row, proudly displaying their medals (Photo provided by Christopher Squires)

And while Evan did his family and Airdrie proud on the podium this year, the sport is truly a family affair in the Squires' household. His older brother, 15-year-old Maxwell also made his parents proud when in 2019 he placed on the provincial karate team. However, due to the national tournament being cancelled, Maxwell was not able to compete.

With two silver medals under his belt, both literally and figuratively on the national stage, Evan is now going to be travelling to Mexico in August for the Junior Pan-American Championships. Evan's parents explained that only two athletes from each sports category are invited to the event. 

"He always does his best, but the competition [in Mexico] is going to be next level, so it's going to be tough. He knows he has put in the maximum amount of work, but nothing's guaranteed. This is the best of the best all competing for the same goal," said Evan's father.

However, considering Evan has always been a highly competitive child and considering he has found his passion in karate as well as winning medals, hopes are high for the young Airdronian. If Evan does succeed in Mexico, the next level of competition will take him and his family to Turkey, where the Karate Junior World Championships will be held in late October.

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