A CHAMPION Widnes schoolboy is set to take on the world’s top young martial arts athletes.

Luke Riley, aged 14, a pupil SS Peter & Paul Catholic College, is one of the UK’s most skilled junior Thai boxers.

He only started training four years ago has won a galaxy of titles, trophies and medals.

He now has the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Langkawi in Malaysia and represent Team GB at the World IFMA Championships from May 1 to 10.

His proud dad, Steve, aged 39, of Hayes Road, Ditton, said: “Me and his mum are absolutely ecstatic.

“He loves it that much he is prepared to put in the dedication.

“He trains at the gym six times a week.

“He has mingled with adults from an early age because of his ability. It has built up his confidence and character.”

His trainer, Darren O’Connor, aged 28, himself a champion, said: “Luke has natural ability. He is so fit, he never tires and has never stopped improving. It is unheard of for a 14-year-old to be at his level.

“He is the most dedicated trainers in my gym.

“He helps me teach my children’s class. If there was ever a child that deserved the opportunity of representing his country in the sport that he loves, then it would be Luke.

“We are looking for sponsorship to ensure this young athlete can fill his dreams.”

Steve, a ward manager at Whiston, and his wife, Nicola, aged 36, a disabled children’s care assistant, have raised £500.

They are now appealing to local companies for sponsorship towards Luke’s £2,000 flight, accommodation and expenses.

Steve added: “Luke is a local lad so this is a great opportunity for a local firm to share his pride and get involved.”

Anyone willing to sponsor Luke can call Darren on 07715 971188 or e-mail darrenoconnor@blueyonder.co.uk.