Our team of Karate exponents from Basingstoke made the short trip to the K2 centre in Crawley for the 22nd British International Karate Open (BIKO) Championships.
Pre tournament, Abdu Shaher 8th Dan, the Tournament Director explained that the venue had been chosen to allow for better communication links, it’s proximity to the London airports and also for the quality of the facilities. Post competition this was proven to be the case.
This was our first competition of the year and our first time at this event. So it’s fair to that there were a few nerves. We had 8 people competing plus Rebecca who was just recovering from an operation on the sidelines cheering us on. The results that we achieved were outstanding with three gold medals, two silver medals and five bronze medals shared between the team.
What was particularly pleasing was the fact that the medals were split between the different disciplines of Kata (forms **) and Kumite (fighting)
We started off the competition well with Edward van Meerkerk (13) winning a Silver medal in the <15s Boys Shotokan Kata against some determined and strong competitors.
Next up was Lindsey Andrews (38) (in the Ladies Shotokan Kata division. Lindsey had decided this year to start the year with Kata that she hasn’t done before in competition. It proved a good choice with her winning the Gold Medal with fine performances of Nijushiho and Bassai Dai.
In order to give our veterans team more competition time against their peers, many of the National and International events in the UK this year are going to include a veterans event. After winning the veterans category at the Nationals late last year, we felt that Lindsey Andrews was one going to be one of the favourites. She lived upto our hopes and came away with another Gold medal for the Ladies Open Veterans Kata category after performing a very good Anan in the final.
Moving onto the Kumite one of the highlights was Georgina Butcher’s (12) Bronze medal in her category. Fighting more experienced people she progressed nicely through the quarter finals winning her matches with a combination of good kicks and punches. She just lost out in the semi final, after two draws against her opponent, she narrowly lost the third extension by 1 point. If she keeps that level of form up, we can expect some good results this year.
Mark Nevola (48) was in fine form winning the Men’s Veteran’s Kumite against some determined opponents with some good techniques. Mark is well known as a strong kicker, but he scored well using his hands to confound his opponents during the Mens Open 75+ division, fighting opponents many years his junior, this time he was beaten in the quarter finals, but picked up some good pointers for next time. Both Mark and Bryan Andrews also came joint third in the Men’s Shobu Ippon Kumite event. This was Bryan’s first (and early) return to competitive fighting after an operation in September, he did well using his hands and feet to good effect to win through to the semi finals.
Matheus Sanches Alves (18) recently moved to the UK from Brazil was fighting in his first tournament in the UK. No half way measures here, but straight in to an international level for his first event. He lost in the semi finals to a more experienced fighter, but has now got a terms of reference for future competitions.
Isabel Bailey (13) also won a bronze medal in the Kumite and did well until, fighting an opponent who needed a little more control, she got injured after a kick to the ribs. This meant that Isabel had to forego fighting in the semi finals on medical advice.
Jess Muller (15) won a silver medal in the final of the cadet 15-17 yrs against a tough opponent. After recently moving up to the cadets category, Jess is rapidly getting accustomed to the increased demands of competition at this level particularly fighting international fighters.
Samantha Butcher (11) recently promoted to her Black Belt, lost out in the preliminaries, but fought well against a tough opponent, gaining valuable experience and meeting her competition target of number of points to score.
Edward van Meerkerk had to withdraw from the Kumite after a promising start due to a knee injury.
A special mention has to go to Rebecca Halil (13) who had knee surgery late last year, unable to compete, she spent the day supporting her team mates.
For the first competition of the calendar year, we made some good progress with competitors improving upon their individual personal results, trying some new things to gauge their effectiveness and getting a feel for what they need to work on during the remainder of the year. With a little bit of fine tuning we can expect more good results during 2013.
Our squad at this event was Bryan Andrews, Edward van Meerkerk, Georgina Butcher, Isabel Bailey, Jess Muller, Lindsey Andrews, Mark Nevola, Matheus Sanches Alves , Rebecca Halil (Injured so couldn’t compete) and Samantha Butcher
** (Kata is a choreographed sequence of movements where attacking and defensive movements are practised in sequence)