Young gamer gets ready for world title in trip of a lifetime
WHAT started out as a fun game at after-school care has become a passport to see the world for young Tweed Heads gamer Reef Ings.
And the game has nothing to do with digital technology - rather a modern twist on good old-fashioned spinning tops, the type favoured by children for generations.
The eight-year-old will be jetting off to Paris at the end of the month to take part in the world Beyblade Burst Championships after taking out the national title in Sydney on September 30 in front of a crowd of 20,000.
The competition will see competitors from 22 countries come together at Kidexpo Paris on November 3 to battle it out with their Beyblade tops and launchers to see who will be crowned world champion.
"I've been doing it for two years now," said Reef, who has perfected his signature style.
"You can have the best launch but if you can't keep your cool you'll lose."
The road to Paris began at Tabatinga Play Centre at Seagulls Club, where Reef joined forces with educator Kyle McLeod, who helps to train the youngsters in the finer art of the game.
From there, he entered the Queensland championships at Helensvale two months ago, taking out the title after finishing on top of a pool of 64 competitors, before heading to Sydney, where his winning streak continued, ousting seven state rivals.
Reef, who is helping to fund his hobby by collecting bottles to deposit at Tweed City, has plans to become a Seagulls Entrepreneur and market his own merchandise.
Mum Sarah Lowrie, who will be flying over to Paris with Reef along with is sister Ellie, 6, and grandmother, said it was an incredible surprise to win the trip overseas.
"Never in a million years would I have thought that a toy from Kmart would see Reef get up at 5.30am every morning to practise his skills," she said.
"We don't do technology in our house, so this is great he is getting a life experience out of his love for Beyblades and coming to Tabatinga."
The family will head overseas for two weeks, with plans to also visit Disney Land in Paris and family in London.
* Follow Reef's progress live on November 3 on www.worldtour.beyblade.com.