WAYNE Maher made a stunning comeback to competitive karate at the recent SKU National Kumite Championships at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
The 41-year-old stepped on to the competition mat for the first time in four years after his coach Dave War-burton persuaded him his fighting days weren't over yet.
It was fine judgment. Maher took the heavyweight gold medal, after beating clubmate 27-year-old Andrew Newton in a gripping final.
Warburton said: 'Wayne retired four years ago, but he still trains re gularly.
'He has won a lot in his time, including this competition.
'I wanted him back in the team and he said if he was doing that he might as well enter the individual competition as well.
'It was a cracking fight and now he is thinking about the British Championships. He's got the bug again.'
Winsford completed the clean sweep in the heavyweight division (over 80 kilos) when Karl Barlow claimed the bronze medal.
Maher, Newton and Barlow shared the team silver.
'But it was a close call,' said Warburton.
James Shotbolt, aged 20, was runner-up in the 6th to 4th Kyu Under 80 kilos category and third in the open weight competition behind Newton.
'He has great potential,' said Warbur ton.
Courtney White was Winsford's other winner. She won the 10- to 11-year-olds' 40k category event and is beginning to pick up medals on a regular basis.
Anthony Robson, 10, was third in the boys 10/11s U40k event; Matthew Condliffe, 21 was also third, in the black belt U80k class.
Dave Warburton's classes are at Woodford Lodge High School on Tuesday and Thursdays (6pm beginners, 7pm advanced, 8pm all stages).
* Further details are available from Warburton on 01606 554307 or 07903 973002.