Young Citizen: World Karate champion Iesa, 11, battles diabetes

PUBLISHED: 13:40 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:14 08 August 2018

Iesa Saeed, 11, wins three medals at the Tang Soo Do world championships in North Carolina, USA. Photo: Sabah Saeed

Iesa Saeed, 11, wins three medals at the Tang Soo Do world championships in North Carolina, USA. Photo: Sabah Saeed


An 11-year-old karate champion who has scooped a slew of gold and silver medals while battling Type-1 diabetes is this week’s Young Citizen nominee.

Iesa Saeed, of Burrow Road, Chigwell, won two golds and a silver at the Tang Soo Do world championships in North Carolina last month.

“It was amazing, I was so happy,” he said.

“The hardest part was the sparring – I had to spar with seven people in seven rounds.”

Iesa began training aged six – inspired by watching the 1984 classic film Karate Kid – when he enrolled in Leyton Tang Soo Do club, which teaches the Korean karate-based martial art.

In order to make the world championships Iesa stepped up his training to four times a week and battled his way through regional, national and European competitions.

Commenting on his favourite part of training, he said: “My teacher [Mohammed Islam] has been helping me out telling me what to work on every time I go home.”

But Iesa’s training suffered a setback after he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes three years ago.

He needs to inject himself with insulin five times a day to regulate his blood sugar levels.

“It completely hit us all for six,” said his mum Sabah, who has nominated him for the Young Citizen Award.

“It affects each part of his life and each part of our lives.”

Nevertheless, Iesa has excelled in his sport thanks to his immense self-motivation his mum says.

“I am so proud of him,” she said.

“He does it all on his own.”

His instructor Mohammed Islam praised Iesa’s attitude.

“He is a true example of a champion,” he said. 
“He was very humble and showed great sportmanship and that makes a better champion which earned him a lot of respect from the judges and others in the competition.”

Iesa is two belts away from a black belt and hopes to make the 2020 world championships and eventually become a grandmaster.

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.

It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card.

The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards.

You can nominate any person who lives or works in Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing

Related articles

Latest Ilford Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

The lastest news from the East London Runners club

Yesterday, 17:00

Should Justin Edinburgh play his strongest team at Maidstone United or rotate his squad? Vote in our poll below

Yesterday, 15:00

The club, who currently play in Harlow while their Ashtons Playing Fields home is completed, have five games over the next 14 days

Yesterday, 14:00

Side currently have three players on loan from Boro

Yesterday, 13:00

The midfielder discussed Marvin Ekpiteta’s England C debut and praised the other members of Orient’s defence

Yesterday, 17:30

Hundreds of friends and family paid their respects after a 23-year-old father-to-be was brutally murdered on his birthday in Hainault.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) raked in a seven-figure sum last year through parking charges which includes cash from its own staff.

Yesterday, 15:05

A Clayhall landlord caught cramming at least six tenants into an Ilford home without a legally required licence and fire safety equipment has been fined £16,000.


Struggling to find a buyer for your home in a slower market? We speak to Ilford property expert Nina Kaura from Portico about the Crossrail effect and why getting things right first time will get you the best price for your property.

Exchange Ilford is a shopping centre on a mission to make it a more welcoming and accessible place to the people of Redbridge.

An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now