The team included both experienced players and novices of all ages. The KSE championships are open to all styles of Karate and it attracts some very good international exponents. This year was no exception with European and World Champions competing. Club and Association Teams were entered from over 20 different associations from around the UK. This was our best event to date with us finishing 5th in the medal table for total numbers of medals won.
First up were the Children competing in the individual Kata events. With Georgina Butcher (13) winning a Bronze Medal in the girls under 15s Shotokan Kata (**) meant that we started the day well. Edward van Meerkerk (14) was next onto the podium in the boys under 15s Shotokan Kata winning a Gold Medal and becoming the British Champion. In the process he performed a very accomplished Kanku Dai in the final to convincingly win the Gold.
Next up were the adults with Mark Nevola (49)winning his first Kata medal at a national level. For many years Mark has been a talented and successful Kumite (**) competitor, but in the last year with help from the other club coaches he’s also developed good skills in Kata. He achieved a Silver medal in the veterans Kata beating some more experienced Kata exponents on the way.
Lindsey Andrews (38) was last up for the adults and won a Bronze medal in the Ladies Open category followed by a Gold medal in the Ladies Shotokan open, reinforcing her position as UK #1 in this discipline. In both events she performed new Kata that she has been working on in readiness for the World Championships in June. In the Ladies Veterans Open event, she was leading the field until the final, where a slight mistake cost her the Gold and she ended up with a Bronze medal.
Following the finish of the Kata events, the event moved onto the Kumite, starting with the children’s categories.
Emma Cronk (9) was not only entering her first ever competition, she was entering a National level tournament with many experienced players. She fought her way through to the semi finals and gained a Bronze medal and got some invaluable experience in the process.
Spardha Kumar (16) fighting in the 15-17 years female category also won a Bronze medal, losing out to some very experienced international competitors. Her team mate Jess Muller (15) went one better in the same event and won a Silver medal losing to one of her peers on the Karate England National Team in a narrow final.
Harry Cronk (12) made it a spectacular day for the Cronk family winning several fights very convincingly before being disqualified for excess contact in the semi finals. This was Harry’s first medal at a National Level and his performance on the day merited a higher medal, but he should be proud of what he did.
Rebecca Halil (14) also had a good day winning fights to get her through to the semi finals, before being narrowly beaten by 1 point to get a Bronze Medal.
Edward van Meerkerk (14) fought through a large contingent in the boys under 45k event. In the quarter finals he fought and beat current England International and World Champion Josh Valentine. He carried on to the final with his usual array of exciting scoring techniques using kicks and punches to score points. He won the Gold Medal and become a double British Champion on the same day having earlier won the Kata event. The video below is of him in action.
Matheus Sanches Alves (19) fought in two events the first being the 18-20 years old category and then the 18+ under 75k category. Both of these events are very difficult with some highly experienced and very good international fighters. He fought some excellent fights to win a Bronze medal in both categories he entered.
Mark Nevola (49) added to the medal haul with a Bronze medal in the Senior Men’s Open and also a Bronze in the Shobu Ippon event. In the Veterans (over 35s) Kumite, Bryan Andrews (45) did well winning his Quarter Final and Semi Final matches 6-0. In the final a controversial decision after a foot sweep downed his opponent, meant he was disqualified and received a Silver Medal. Both fighters are currently working hard to prepare for the World Karate Championships in June.
** (Kata is a choreographed sequence of movements where attacking and defensive movements are practised in sequence. Kumite is fighting against an opponent)