KATIE Clarke's soaring career has reached new heights on top of the podium at the TAFISA World Karate Championships.
The 18-year-old defended her title at the championships held in Lithuania in Eastern Europe where more than 1000 competitors took part.
"It is an amazing feeling. I've been training really hard for it," Clarke said of winning the 18-20 women's bare fist open weight division.
"There was a lot more pressure and a few more expectations this time.
"I was lucky to defend the title.
"It's a feeling like no other."
Besides defending the title she originally won in Italy in 2010, Clarke took part in four other events and brought home a total of two gold and one silver.
The former Capella local said her goal was to successfully defend her title and any other medals were just icing on the cake.
"Getting gold and defending my title was most important, to be able to medal in other events I was very fortunate," she said.
But the medals did not come without self discipline as Clarke stepped up a gear in her training about three months before the world titles.
"I usually did three to four hours of fitness and karate a day and tried to aim for that five days a week," she said.
"It was intense training."
The training paid off for Clarke going in to the final round against a tough Scottish competitor, though she admitted she was feeling a bit nervous about the bout.
"It's something you train for years, and it all comes down to two minutes," she said.
"I was down one point and felt a lot of pressure but I knew I had the ability to pull it out on time.
"I was ready for it and wanted to enjoy it. It was an amazing feeling to come out successful.
"You never know with opponents but I was able to win it.
"It's the best feeling."
Clarke not only walked away with medals, she also received a fractured rib in the competition and said she was slowly on her way to recovery.
She said jokingly that getting congratulatory hugs for her success was a bit difficult as each hug brought pain from her rib.
"It wasn't too good but it's healing. I'll take it on the chin, the pain is not so bad," she said.
With the London Olympics now receding to a memory, Clarke said though karate was not yet a sport at the Olympics, it was a dream of hers to compete there.
"Hopefully it will become a sport and I can compete at the Olympics," she said. "It inspired me to train harder and continue on to become the best I can be."
Clarke said she was grateful to her coach for getting her to where she was and pushing her to succeed at the world championships.
"I am lucky to have such a great coach. Wouldn't be there without him," she said.
And as the Australian women's team captain for the first time, Clarke was able to help fellow teammates and encourage them to achieve their best.
"It was the first time I was captain and it was a fantastic experience," she said.
"To be a role model and leader was great. To have girls come to me and ask for advice, I was happy to help them."
But now the world championships are over, Clarke said she was looking forward to some down time.
"Now it's over I am more focused on my career. I am taking a little break from training but still keeping up three classes a week," she said.
Clarke began studying a degree in music theatre at the Central Queensland University in Mackay but deferred to move to Brisbane to pursue a career in acting.
"My ultimate goal is actions and martial arts films. That would be the best," she said.
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