A NORTH-EAST youngster has become the youngest fighter ever chosen to represent Great Britain in the World Junior Kickboxing Championships in Thailand.

And what makes it even more remarkable is that Theo Spinks, from Darlington, was told he would never be able to compete in the sport due to a medical condition.

Ten-year-old Theo will travel to Bangkok later this month to compete at the world-class level in Muay Thai kickboxing.

The British titleist, whose nickname is ‘Spider-Boy’ thanks to the Spider-Man mask he wears when entering the ring, said: “It feels good to be asked to take part. I’m really excited. I’m hoping I’ll win my matches, and maybe the tournament.”

The Northern Echo: Theo is also known as 'Spider-Boy' thanks to his unique ring entrance styleTheo is also known as 'Spider-Boy' thanks to his unique ring entrance style

When Theo was four, doctors warned his parents, Paul and Emily, that sports like Muay Thai might be impossible for Theo after he was diagnosed with Perthes disease, a condition which affects mobility of the leg.

But, defying the odds, Theo has become the youngest British fighter ever selected for the tournament.

Paul, a former kickboxer himself who competed in the 1999 world championships in Thailand, said: “Theo started training when he was five, after getting the all-clear. I didn’t start until I was 11, so he’s leagues ahead of where I was at his age.”

Theo was scouted by Team GB selectors following his triumph at a United Kingdom Muaythai Federation trials tournament, held in London last year. The family knew that winners were sometimes considered for international competition, but they never expected the call to come so soon.

The Northern Echo: Theo (centre) with parents Emily and Paul, and little brother CharlieTheo (centre) with parents Emily and Paul, and little brother Charlie

“It was completely out of the blue,” Emily remembers, “we thought Theo might have a chance in two or three years, because no ten-year-old had ever been selected.

“But we’re over the moon. Nothing makes us prouder than seeing him compete.”

Travel to the event is self-funded, so the family set up a Go Fund Me page and organised fundraising events to help Theo follow his dream of representing his country on the world stage.

Theo added: “I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me and donated so I can do this. And to anyone interested in Muay Thai: go for it, do your best, put in the effort – and you’ll get there.”

Theo’s Go Fund Me page can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/theo-representing-team-gb-in-thailand