The Karate England Nationals are the highlight of the competition year with many competitors from all over the Country competing to become the England National Champion in their respective division. Annually this event is held in Loughborough.
This event was our most successful National Championship ever with a total of 7 Gold Medals, 18 Silver and 14 Bronzes. Every single member of our squad won at least one medal and we won individual Kata and Kumite medals along with team events for both disciplines. At the end of the competition, we found out that we had come second in the overall medal table behind the England National Squad Coach’s Association team.
The day started off with the Individual and Team Kata with some good successes. In the 15yrs and under events, we dominated the Shotokan Kata divisions with wins for Edward van Meerkerk and Georgina Butcher both winning their respective divisions with very strong performance to become The English Champion. Edward is no stranger to winning National Titles, but this is the first of Georgina’s National Titles and based upon her performance on the day with some very strong renditions of her Katas, it won’t be her last. In the same age categories Harry Cronk and Isabel Bailey did well to battle through the field to come second in the Shotokan categories, both being pipped to the post by their teammates. Rebecca Halil gained some great experience and a silver in the Open Kata division, Edward van Meerkerk also entered another two Kata categories earning a silver in each, narrowly being beaten by the same boy in both who performed some very dynamic Kata.
In the adult categories Jess Muller started off well by coming second in the Adult’s Shotokan division against a much older and more experience competitor, Spardha Kumar came third in this category. We saw two of our competitors through to the final of the Men’s Veterans which eventually saw them matched off for first and second place with Mark Nevola turning the tables on Bryan Andrews this time to win Gold in the Mens Veterans. In the Ladies Veterans Lindsey Andrews was on fine form again and won the National Championships again.
In the team kata events, we didn’t have as many entries this time with only two teams contesting, Our Under 15s Girls made up of Rebecca Halil, Isabel Bailey and Emma Baldry won Gold after some good performances of their new kata. Our Ladies Veterans Team (Lindsey Andrews, Lynn Aston and Tricia Jordan) came second in the Senior Mixed Team event, losing to a men’s team. This finished off a good mornings work in the Kata. With the fighting events starting immediately our respite was short.
The Cadets fighting started first and Zane Sewell was the first up for us, he fought through a hard draw in a large category to fight through to win a Bronze medal, making it a day of Bronzes for him combined with his earlier medal from the Open Kata. Samantha Butcher was up next and she won some good matches using a some strong and fast hand strikes to rack up the points. Sadly she lost in the semi-final but did secure a Bronze for her Kumite. She was unlucky not to come home with a hat trick of medals coming 4th in her Kata division.
In the adult events, Mark Nevola and Bryan Andrews were both beaten by their current nemesis the World Veteran’s Champion Rob Ward, Bryan in the semi-finals and Mark in the Final. Mark rebounded from this to fight to the open category Shobu Ippon Kumite. Winning his quarter and semi-finals with ease he proceeded to the final to face Garrick Eastwood, World Lightweight World Champion. Garrick’s pace was just too much for Mark who lost by 2 points and had to settle for Silver.
The team events are hard fought with the best from each association taking part in their teams. We entered three teams in the cadets 14-15 category with a Junior Boys Team (Edward van Meerkerk (14), Harry Cronk (13) and Harry van Meerkerk (10) and Zane Sewell (10) as reserve) and a Cadet A girls team (Isabel Bailey (14), Samantha Butcher (11) and Georgina Butcher (13) and a Cadet B Girls 16-17 category team (Jess Muller (16), Emma Baldry (15) and Rebecca Halil (14)
The girls Cadet B team fought through to the final before being beaten. They had some very tough draws coming up against Shikon Red in the final, who’s age and experience proved too much for our team this time, so they won a deserved silver.
The younger girls in Cadet A team fought well, but lost in the semi-finals to Southern England Schools of Karate team, so had to settle for a Bronze medal. Samantha Butcher deserves a mentioned, giving away 3 years in age, she held her bigger more experienced to a draw until the closing seconds, narrowly losing, but pleased with her performance. The boys went one better than the girls and won a silver medal in their event again losing in the final to a Southern England Schools of Karate team. Harry van Meerkerk giving away 4 years in age and about 30cms in size, stormed through his match and with seconds to go scored a fantastic head-height roundhouse kick to his opponent’s head to score two points to tumultuous applause and even earnt himself a new nickname. “Headkick Harry” is here to stay.
Our team from Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy encompassed a range of ages and experience levels. The team was Team Coaches who were also competing Bryan Andrews (46) Lindsey Andrews (39), Mark Nevola (50) plus Tricia Jordan (57) and Lynn Aston (52) Jess Muller (16), Harry Cronk (13), Harry van Meerkerk (10), Emma Baldry (15), Rebecca Halil (14), Isabel Bailey (14), Edward van Meerkerk (14), Georgina Butcher (13), Spardha Kumar (16) Samantha Butcher (11) and Zane Sewell (10)
Our competition squad train regularly and is looking forward to lots more competitions in 2014 including World and European Championships. Further details on our general adults and children’s classes is available from www.basingstokekarate.com.
This is one of our competitors in action on the day.