Jean Newell earned the 2014 Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star award for sport. The YES Awards honour talented youth in Grades 6 to 10.
The most recent highlight of his sporting career came in the form of a first for Canada. Jean and his older brother Geoffrey won silver in team kata at the Junior Pan Am Karate Tournament in Medellin, Columbia. It was the first time Canada placed in the finals in the 24-year history of that tournament.
The trip to the podium included defeating Venezuela and Mexico.
“These are two powerhouse kata nations, so beating them was incredible,” Geoffrey says of the match.
The duo lost to Peru.
What stands out for 14-year-old Jean is the noise level.
The brothers qualified for, but couldn’t participate in, the world competition as the elder Newell turned 18 three weeks prior to competition.
Highlighting his commitment to the sport, Jean has also qualified to become a national karate referee, a position usually held for those older than 19. In March, he was asked to referee at the North American Cup for Karate at the Richmond Oval.
Another success dates back to 2012, when Jean won double silver in the annual U.S. Open in Kumite (sparring), as well as in kata in Las Vegas, the largest karate tournament in the world.
Jean is also a home-schooled, straight-A student and an exceptional soccer player.
“I still play soccer in the spring,” Jean says, but karate has taken focus. The brothers also engage in sibling rivalry in home games of basketball and ping pong, always pushing each other to perform his best. They plan to teach with Oak Bay Recreation, under the Karate Brothers banner, this fall.