49th European Senior Karate Championships Tampere, Finland May 1st - 4th 2014
The below are reports and results posted from Finland.
As well as this official EKF website you will also find information on the official EKF Facebook page - click here.
Day 3 – Finals Day
Day three was individual finals day and England had two athletes competing, Alton Brown in the male -75kg bronze medal match and Jordan Thomas male -67kg final.
First up was Alton Brown with a real opportunity to win England’s first medal of the championships, competing against DONA of France. Although Dona is a well decorated athlete he has not been in great form in recent years which presented realistic expectations of a medal and up against the ‘in form’ Alton Brown of England. The bout itself proved to be a disappointing one and in a largely inactive bout Alton was unable to claw back the two point deficit and proceeded to lose 0-8 on category two warnings. Unable to recapture the drive and performance of day one we had settle for fifth place overall. The flip side being, if this was the 2015 European Championships, Alton would have automatically qualified for a place in the 2015 European Olympics being held in Baku Azerbaijan next year. In addition Alton has gained important WKF ranking points of which will improve his World ranking status, so therefore a great effort over all.
The last individual match of the championships and England’s ‘Golden’ opportunity now rested on the young shoulders of Jordan Thomas. On day one Jordan was in fantastic form scoring a total of 16 points only conceding two against and although this is not a guarantee of success it could be argued that it is sound performance indicator and we were confident in his scoring abilities. Jordan was up against the competitor from Azerbaijan, ALIYEV NIYAZI and as expected proved to be a very tactical and close bout. Jordan scored first with a counter punch found it difficult to hold onto the lead and his opponent drew back the match 1-1. In line with the rules in the event of a draw, throughout the match Jordan was better tactically and committed to more attacks therefore won the bout (and the title) on a 3-2 decision.
‘Congratulations to Jordan Thomas’, the English Karate Federations first Senior European Champion and England’s second over 14 year span. His name now resides in the record books next to names of former Senior European Champions such as, Leon Walters, Wayne Otto, Mick Sailsman, Mervyn Etienne, Molly Samuel-Laporte, Jillian Toney, Willie Thomas (phew, to mention but a few) and now Jordan Thomas -67kg Senior European Champion 2014.
Major championships always bring sorrow with joy, elation and despair, both physical and emotional pain, but the excitement and adrenalin of competing against Europe’s finest keeps us coming back for more. Whether we won, lost or drew all the EKF competitors did their country proud and has acted with distinction both on and off the tatami. Note on the medal table England came joint sixth and that it does not say a name of a category but simply ‘England’, thus meaning we all share in this in this success and indeed are a part of it.
Final statistics; 1 x 9th place, 2 x 7th place, 1 x 5th place, and 1 x 1st place. Therefore five of the nine individual entrants finished in the top nine in Europe of which can only mean one thing. England is on the rise. The message is a simple one, ENGLAND – ‘YES WE CAN’
Thank you to the EKF staff that have worked to support the squad both prior and during the event.
- Assistant coaches Davin Pack & Paul Newby
- Squad physiotherapist Mohinder Surdhar Phd
- Head of Delegation/EKF Admin Debbie Sell
- EKF Board members
- Sponsors BLITZ Martial Arts Supplies
As national coach it has been a privilege to represent the EKF at major championships and shoulder the responsibility and trust placed in me to nurture and develop England finest. THANK YOU
Willie Thomas National Coach
2nd May - Day 2 of Competition
The second day started with both male and female Kata events England’s male team athletes were Robert Bingham, John Gardiner and Chris Karwacinski. The female team were Natalie Payne, Aimee Sell and Melissa Williamson.
The men faced Portugal in the first round and unfortunately lost 0-5, Portugal then went against Spain but lost out to Spain 4-1 in the semi-final and therefore no repo-charge for the guys. The female team suffered a similar fate and put up a spirited performance against the Belarus team narrowly losing 3-2 on flags. Belarus lost 5-0 in the next round to the eventual finalists Italy. The standard of European Karate is rising all the time and both teams have learnt from their losses and keen to get back to training and come back stronger and more determined.
Next up was the female kumite team namely Amelia Harvey, Carla Burkitt, Natalie Williams and Kate Karwacinski. From the outset there was an air of confidence around this team and given the individual pedigree of the athlete’s expectations were high.
England were drawn against the Ukraine in the first round and were confident of contesting the bout well knowing if they win their chances of a medal would increase. Natalie Williams was up first and took up and an early 2 point lead. As she edged closer to victory she got caught with uro maewashi geri and ran out of time to recoup the point thus losing 3-2. Kate was up next against the former European Champion and although worked hard was unable to hold off the attacks from the Ukraine and lost 2-0 to provide Ukraine with the 2-0 overall.
There are areas for improvement in this promising team and through training and development England can achieve these new benchmarks for performance
W Thomas National Coach
1st May - Day 1 of Competition
Female individual Kata
Emma Lucraft got off to a great start beating the competitor from Denmark 5-0 and in the second round lost 0-5 against the highly decorated Italian athlete who proved to be in formidable form all day and went on to make the finals. This brought Emma back into the repo-charge where she lost to Turkey in her first repo-charge bout.
Male individual Kata
John Gardiner Stepped in to represent England with a positive attitude and was eager to perform on the European stage. He competed against the competitor from Montenegro and narrowly lost two flags to three. The Montenegro athlete lost 4-1 to France who then himself lost to the Italian 3-2 in the next round, thus dashing any hopes of a repo-charge opportunity John. The benchmark has been clearly drawn for John who has only been inspired to train harder.
Female Individual umite
Carla Burkitt (-55kg) put up a spirited battle against WARLING from Luxemburg dropping and early point in the bout. She pulled it back 1-1 but in the dying seconds dropped another to lose 1-2. Warling was in great form and went on to make the finals bring Carla back into the repo-charge. Undeterred, Carla was drawn against MEYLNK from the Ukraine and lost 5-0. A disappointed Carla will have an opportunity to compete in the ladies team and another medal opportunity.
Natalie Williams (-61Kg) was in great form beating STELAND SONJA (LUX) 5-0 in her first bout and then ABIYEVA FARIDA (AZE) 6-0 in her second. Natalie fought a controlled fight in the quarter finals drawing the match 1-1 and lost on the tightest of margins 2-3 on flags. An astounded Natalie felt sure to progress to the semi-finals and thus a medal winning opportunity but her hopes were dashed when the athlete MAKSIMOVIC JELENA (MNE)lost and hopes of a repo-charge quickly faded.
Kate Kawacinski (-68kg) was in a positive mind-set approaching the fight and was up against the U21 European Silver medallist ZUANON CHIARA (ITA) in the first round. Kate was challenging her opponent throughout the bout but was unable to break through losing 0-2. The Italian went on to lose to the eventual finalist in the following round leaving Kate the team event to focus on.
Chris Harris (-60kg) made a steady start beating MCLOUGHLIN AARON(IRL)in the first round 3-0. Now safely through the first round Chris continued his campaign against a talented competitor CHARALAMPIDIS IOANNIS (GRE)beating him by an impressive 6-0. Now in the quarter finals Chris senses a real chance of success but came up against LIDEGAARD CASPER (DEN) who was in formidable form beating Chris 5-0 and went on to gain a place in the final. Chris had one fight to gain a place in the bronze medal final and lost 3-0 to HEIMANN ALEXANDER (GER)who competes on Saturday for the bronze medal. Chris finished 7th place overall.
Jordan Thomas (-67kg) came of age this day. He produced an outstanding performance to reach the finals of the Championships on Saturday. Jordan had a bye in the first round and had to ensure he was properly warmed up to meet in GIEGLER RICARDO (GER)his first bout. Jordan won 8-0 scoring with a variety of punching and kicking techniques. Jordan then beat the world no.3 POKORNY STEFANfrom Austria (4-1) who beat the favoured French competitor GARIN MARVIN in the previous round.
The semi-final Jordan confirmed his dominance by beating the Hungarian athlete TADISSI YVES4-1 to become the first male English Karate Federation male competitor to medal at a European Championships. A level headed Jordan is quietly preparing himself for a very real opportunity of becoming a European Champion.
Alton Brown (-75kg) produced a fantastic performance wining his first two bouts. Round one saw him convincingly beat AL-WANDI AHMED (SWE)3-1 and in round two with another sound performance beat VIRAG ANDRASfrom Hungary 2-0. In round three he came up against current World Champion, Busa from Italy and in a well contested fight lost 0-2. Busa went on to make the finals giving Alton another medal winning opportunity.
Alton was drawn against MORENO_PAZ FERNANDOfrom Spain and beat him is a very tight match 2-1 to gain a place in the bronze medal fight off against DONA of France on Saturday
Ryan Jay (-84kg) competed against the capable LUCIC DANILO from Montenegro in the first round and disappointing lost 2-0 without a chance to get his ‘motor running’. Ryan remarked that ‘I did not fight to my best’, but he remains positive for the future and keen to build on his experiences here at the Championships.W
W Thomas National Coach
30th April 2014
The squad again went to the training venue with their coach's after breakfast to continue their preparations for these championships. Wednesday was registration day which went very smoothly followed by a meeting of congress with the other European Federations. The congress was addressed by Mr Espinos the WKF and EKF President. There are some exciting new things in the pipeline to come from the WKF to which Congress was informed about these included the dates and qualification criteria for the new European Olympic Games of which, karate is a participant but only via membership of the WKF. There are to be some changes to the Junior/Cadet U21 event with additional18 -21 categories. There is also some new video technology which is to be used at these championships which will also include, video analysis, talent ID and performance other exciting new features for coach's of National Federations.
The squad returned by lunch time to the hotel, relaxed and waited in anticipation for the draws.
We have some fighters on today including Kate Karwacinski who met up with the squad late last night and the Individual kata events. We hope to bring you updates via Facebook and Twitter depending on Wi-Fi connection.
Good luck to the squad and coach's for today.
28-29th April 2014
The squad met at Heathrow T3 Monday afternoon for the first leg of the journey to Tampere, Finland. We landed in Stockholm for our connecting flight where we all squeezed on what must be one of the smallest planes ever, to continue the journey to Finland. We arrived at the hotel about 1am and once rooms were sorted it was agreed to meet up for breakfast at 8.30-9am as training was to start at 10am.
Tuesday morning and the squad were taken to the training session which is next door to the competition venue they were fortunate to have the whole training area to themselves, so this allowed the squad to have plenty of room on the mats. As usual kata and kumite split and the squad started training in their respective teams or as individuals. The training was very light with the kata squads going through their chosen katas and bunkai. The kumite were fine tuning some techniques and scenarios. The squad finished around 1pm and returned to the hotel where they were briefed on what was happening over the next few days. The squad are now relaxing before dinner. Some of the squad will return to the training venue tomorrow whilst registration begins at the HQ Hotel. The squad are in good spirits and looking forward to the competition starting.
Photos by Aether Productions and W Thomas
Saturday 19.5.14 Pre-Training Senior Squad
The Kata and Kumite squad met up at Alex Harts Dojo in Waltham Abbey at the weekend. The squad going to the Senior Europeans were also joined by other England 'A' squad member to take part in this training session.
Both Kata and Kumite took part in a conditioning session and although demanding it was enjoyable. The groups were then split to complete their relative specific training with sessions led by Coach's Willie Thomas, Johnathan Mottram and Davin Pack.
Spirits are high with an air of excitement amoungst the squad. With this in mind there is still work to be done before the big event.
The squad will be meeting up during the week to continue their training with their respective coach's and then meet up for a final session on Saturday 26/5/14 again at Alex Harts Dojo.
W Thomas National Kumite Coach
Day Eight – Final Day
So we are now at the last day of the World Karate Championships and as the England Team take the short walk from the hotel to the stadium some use it as a time for quiet reflection.
Today we are spectators. The squad, intent on soaking up as much karate as possible at the highest level, arrive in enough time for the first final at 10.00am. The arena, now reduced to one elevated tatami, is set up to exhibit some fantastic karate. This it delivers.
The individual and Team, Semi and Final matches featured amongst the usual suspects, the new powerhouses of Karate; Iran, Turkey and Egypt. These Middle eastern countries also had a refreshingly strong presence in the kata finals.
Team bunkai allows the kata coaches to show both their understanding, interpretation and application of the kata. Visually pleasing does not necessary mean good karate and that was clear in some of the kata decisions made. However there was some incredibly inventive but still practical bunkai demonstrated and this was no more evident than with the Female Team kata particularly Vietnam, Italy and Japan. The kata, individual and team, leaves the stadium breathless.
Biggest upset of the tournament was unquestionably the Japanese Female Kata Team losing to Germany in the final due to two pronounced stumbles in the bunkai.
The men’s team kumite final between Iran and Germany was an excellent demonstration of WKF Karate at its best: sweeps, takedowns, body and head kicks, front and reverse punches and a five man fight. It was a spectacle culminating in the host country taking the honours.
All in all a fitting end to the World Championships.
Special mention to Jordan Thomas for his excellent performance and maintaining consistency at Elite level. There is a lot more to come from this young man.
Thanks to Debbie Sell for her organisation of the trip,Ticky Donovan, President Mick Billman and Mark Simmonds for their support and advice, the referees for their guidance and representation at the highest level, Dr Mohindar Surdar for his selfless commitment to the squad, all the England supporters who came to cheer us on, the coaches Willie Thomas, Davin Pack, Paul “Neo” Newby and Ady Gray for their unwavering belief in the squad and most importantly to the athletes for representing England with bulldog pride, conviction and honour.
Tomorrow we head back to Blighty to rest and then get ready for the next set of international tournaments next year.
Head of Delegation
Day Seven – Competition Day 4
The World Championships is now into the Finals stage. Ability gets you selected, preparation and composure gets you to the finals. Jordan Thomas ticked all three boxes. Hopes were high when he stepped onto the tatami to face the Brazillian in the Bronze Medal fight off.
The match began with Jordan scoring a technically perfect timed left gyaku zuki after a protest from his dad and national coach, Willie Thomas was upheld. The Brazillian picked up the pace and got hit by another quality gyaku zuki. The next point turned out to be the decisive one. The Brazillian was awarded the point in a punching exchange and just capitalised with a front leg mawashi geri earning 3 points and taking him into the lead. Jordan chased and got picked off with two more points. As the clock ticked down so did English hopes and at the buzzer it was 6-2 for Brazil and Jordan’s World Medal dreams dashed. However it is refreshing to see England at Senior Level competing for medals again and a testament to Willie and his coaching staff.
That said, championship finals like all sports are a mixed bag. Some matches very cagey and consequently lacking in action and risk and others a bar room brawl with Karate techniques thrown in for good measure. Those types of fights are the crowd pleasers and not surprisingly led by the Japanese whose karat eka in the finals, could fight, did fight and invariably won with minimal clinching and good committed karate techniques.
The introduction of the disabled category to the World Championships is wonderfully refreshing. It shows the versatility of karate and how it genuinely appeals to all. The Blind and Visually impaired finals in particular were incredibly emotional. The quality of the kata performed by the athletes culminated in a standing ovation from the crowd. This is our Art at it’s best: perseverance, passion, belief, discipline and confidence.
On reflection the World Championships have been organised well. 5 tatamis instead of four would have assisted in the event overrunning on the first two days and seating the athletes in the rafters compromised the atmosphere on those days. However, the close proximity, that is 15 minutes walking distance, of the stadium to the hotels, airport, shops, restaurants and training areas is a template for the future. No hassle with transport, coaches can manage their athletes arrival at the stadium and Heads of Delegation can have a bit of a lie in…..I wish! Also Friday and today saw a stadium filled in the evening with rapturous Germans cheering every move a German athlete made. Great atmosphere……Apart from having to suffer at ear splitting levels the singular German contribution to popular music “the Final Countdown” by Berlin, 100 times a day.
One more day of finals for the England squad to watch, absorb and learn!
Day Six – Competition Day 3
This was the last day of eliminations. The Kumite Team events were on and the atmosphere in the warm up area was ridiculously tense. The England Mens Team of Ryan Jay, Joe Kellaway, Chris Harris, Ross Mathieu, Michael Burke and Alton Brown were primarily young and apart from Alton, inexperienced at this level. Coach Thomas rested Jordan due to a knee injury in an effort to save him for his repercharge final on Saturday.
The draw pitched England against Australia, a match up that speaks for itself. First out was the England Captain Alton Brown. His Australian opponent was negative, clearly trying to force a draw. Alton hustled and harried him but was unable to secure a clean point finishing the match as a draw.
Joe Kellaway was out next in his first senior championships. Joe took the initiative by dominating his opponent and getting the better of the exchanges. With 20 seconds to go The Australian scored and the bout finished as another draw.
The pressure was on and Ryan Jay was out at number three. Ryan controlled the match. He knew exactly what he had to do and did it winning the match 1-0 with an excellently timed kizami zuki.
This win put England in the driving seat for our number four, Chris Harris. As a -60 fighter Chris’s speed and movement would have to be at its absolute best. The Australian, with significant advantages in height and weight, cannily picked Chris off as he moved in. Chris tried to gain the advantage but went down 3-0.
This left the match even with Michael Burke having to win. It did not start well: the Australian man-handled Michael and was quickly 4 points up. He then added 3 more with a takedown. Into the last third of the fight Michael started getting his timing and form together and gained four points. Unfortunately it was too little, too late and England were out.
The Ladies Team were on in the afternoon facing Poland.
Amelia Harvey led the charge beating her opponent 5-3 and demonstrating a maturity in strategy and in her response to coaching. Natalie then showed her experience by dominating her opponent and winning the match 3-1. The team had won two fights to nil and moved onto their next opponent Tunisia.
Amelia was out first against a tall rangy opponent. The Tunisian used her range well making Amelia work hard to secure a point. At the end of the bout it was 3-2 to Tunisia.
Natalie came out number two and simply dominated her opponent out fighting her in every exchange and breaking the Tunisians spirit to such an extent that England won the fight on kiken, that is a lack of fighting spirit.
Last out for England was Carla Burkitt. Carla started well matching her opponent with a point each from the first exchange. Then the Tunisian started making ground and using her distance to measure Carla’s timing to be first in the exchanges. As the clock ticked down Carla through everything she had but her efforts were unproductive.was England were out with only Jordan Thomas placed to secure a bronze in tomorrow’s repercharge final.
Good luck Jordan
Day Five – Competition Day 2
A new dawn, a new day, renewed expectations.
Natalie Williams undoubtedly England’s finest was out on the tatami first for England vs Ukraine in the -61 category. Natalie initiated all exchanges with the first score being one point each. It was evident that the Ukrainian was on the defensive but she managed to sneak a counter, stay ahead and win the fight 1-0. Natalie was frustrated but hopeful of a repercharge opportunity but the Ukranian went out in the quarterfinal.
Siobhan Hayes, Coach Newby’s protégé was next on the mats and was quickly into her stride getting the better of Uzbekhistan during a number of head and body exchanges. Siobhan won 3-1 and faced Chile in the 2nd round. Siobhan was razor sharp taking advantage of every opportunity and making openings when necessary to win 5-1.The Finnish girl from the start of the third round was out to steal the fight in an effort to avoid Siobhan’s longer reach and eventually nicked a point as Siobhan pursued her putting England out 1-0. Repercharge was not an option when the Finnish girl lost in later rounds.
The afternoon saw Jordan Thomas line up in the -67kg category. Our current European champion was revved up and ready to go. He needed to be. His first round match was against the formidable Rolle of France. These two are so evenly matched it was accepted that the winner would probably go all the way to the final. After a tentative start Rolle got the best of a punching exchange. Jordan got after him but Rolle just kept the edge on exchanges before he scored an exquisite Jodan mawashi beating Jordan 6-0. Nevertheless as predicted the Frenchman stormed through to the final giving Jordan an opportunity to show his class and this he did in classic “old school” fashion. His Japanese opponent in the first repercharge fight was pressured and made to fight on Jordan’s terms with Jordan benefitting from the flags at the end of 3 minutes. Jordan’s Serbian opponent was broken with lancing kizami’s and gyak’s. His despair was evident as Jordan won 6- 3 and moved onto a match against Tunisia. Jordan was well in his stride and continued where he left off scoring lightning quick head and body punches to get himself into the Bronze medal final on Saturday with a scintillating 9-1 win.
Chris Harris was out next in -60 kg. His opponent from Hong Kong was spirited and matched Chris’s excellent movement. The match was fairly even with points going back and forth. As the buzzer went Chris found himself out of the World Championships by the narrowest margin 3-2.
The late afternoon saw the eagerly anticipated team kata start with John Gardiner, Chris Karwacinski and Rob Bingham representing England. Coach Ady Gray had the team focussed and ready for their first match against Austria, Kankusho was the kata of choice and the team executed it well. Their Austrian opponents performed Gojushihosho and it looked too close to call. The decision went 4-1 to the Austrians and England were out with the Austrians losing in the next round crushing repercharge hopes.
The Ladies Team of Aimee Sell, Mellissa Williamson and Natalie Payne were our last representatives for the day. They performed Chatanyara Against Belarus and we’re winners at 3-2
. The next round was Turkey who performed Chatanayara to England’s Supa Empi. The flags went 5-0 to Turkey and England were out with Turkey losing in the later rounds. Great effort for a young team that bodes well for the future.
The day ended with a hope of a medal with Jordan Thomas and a debrief from the national coaches and Chief referee, Dale Gamble.
Day Four – Competition Day 1.
heralds the first day of the 22nd World Karate Championships. The stadium is incredible, three tiers of seating, 10000 seats, 107 countries, 1200 athletes, 5 days of competition, 3 days sold out. Be under no illusion, this is the WORLD KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Kata begins the day with our representatives Aimee Sell, current World Junior Bronze Medallist and John Gardiner competing in the individual event for the first time.
John was first out for England soundly beating India 5 – 0 with a strong Empi. Next round was against Iraq. John performed Gojushiodai losing 3 -2, after a slight wobble. It’s all about margins of error at this level and John will take a lot away from this experience.
Aimee came out against San Marino trouncing her opponent 5-0 with an excellent Annan. Next round saw her again show the difference in class beating Croatia 4-1 with Supa empi. Her third round opponent was an accomplished Bulgarian opponent, Aimee’s execution of Chatanyara was exemplary and yielded a 5-0 win. This win took Aimee into the quarter finals where she faced a formidable Japanese opponent who had not dropped a flag on route so far. Unfortunately Japan maintained their momentum with an emphatic 5-0 win in spite of Aimee’s excellent execution of Unsu. Nevertheless, all was not lost as Japan won through to the finals putting Ms Sell into the repercharge. Aimee faced Mexico for a chance to compete for Bronze. Unfortunately it was a bridge too far on this occasion with Aimee losing 4-1 performing Nipaipo.
Great performance and a fantastic boost for the Team kata.
The afternoon began with one of our seasoned campaigners Alton Brown competing in his new category -84 kg. Alton in his inimitable style immediately maximised his greatest attributes, speed and timing. His opponent from Curaçao was peppered with lightning fast gyaku zukis and kizami’s resulting in a 4-0 win and a confident stride onto his next opponent from Albania.
Again the weight and height differential was quite stark. Alton using his experience tried to avoid clinches and used his movement and kicking speed to great effect scoring with a beautiful backleg mawashi geri. Nevertheless he picked up a number of warnings for contact by his refusal to be intimidated.
His third round Egyptian opponent was from the start wary of Alton’s speed and used his height to throw arrow kizami’s at Alton who tried to get his distance. When he did, a beautiful timed gyaku zuki was scored. The Albanian countered with of course a kizami off the line followed immediately by scoring a feint kizami, front leg mawashi geri earning 3 points. Alton worked to get the points back but to no avail. At the buzzer he was out, disappointed and then dejected when the Egyptian lost in the semi final, crushing his hopes of the repercharge
Next out was the first of the ladies Amelia Harvey competing in the +68 category. One of England’s new “young guns” Amelia came out firing, skilfully scoring on her Swiss opponent (current European Champion) with 2 laser like Jodan gyak’s for a 2-0 win to make an impressive debut at her first Senior World’s. Amelia upped her pace and intensity in the next round against her Polish opponent scoring with fluid double Jodan punches and counter Jodan and Chudan gyaku winning 6-0. A potentially difficult fight was nullified early by precision and power punching.
The next round was altogether a different ball game. Amelia faced a Japanese opponent with impeccable distance, timing and speed on both her punching attacks and counters. Amelia worked hard with Coach Willie Thomas trying to negotiate her way past the impressive Japanese armoury, but to no avail. Amelia lost 5-0 but had made an excellent impression on the world stage. Amelia then faced further disappointment when the Japanese competitor surprisingly lost in the next round on flags meaning no repercharge.
Next out was Kate Karwacinski the current Junior European Medallist. Kate faced a Chinese opponent who did not let her get into her stride. Kate went a point down and ended up chasing the fight losing 2-1.
Last out was Ryan Jay, one of England’s top juniors competing at his first Senior World Championships. From the first exchange Ryan showed his maturity out timing his committed Dominican opponent 2-0. Iran was Ryan’s second round fight and this proved to be a tough match. The Iranian’s experience at this level became clear as he picked up points from every little opportunity he had. Ryan as always fought to the buzzer but lost 5-0 and learnt a lot.
The day finished uncharacteristically late with no medals for England but some excellent performances that will unquestionably inspire those competing tomorrow.
Tuesday began at 7.30am
with a buffet breakfast that had plenty of healthy options for the athletes. At 9.45am
the squad made its way to the stadium for their last training session.
Coach Thomas with assistants Davin Pack and Paul Newby tailored the session to ensure the athletes fighting over the next few days undertook drills relative to their fighting schedules. It was a pleasure to witness these coaches pouring the last dregs of their knowledge, skill and experience into the athletes to ensure that they were as prepared as they could possibly be for the competition.
Ady Gray in his calm, authoritative,style fine tuned the kata athletes to ensure they were confident and focused on the job in hand.
The sessions concluded well within the hour and a half time slot, allowing time for the athletes to relax, stretch and absorb the atmosphere of the competition environment. The squad Captains, Alton Brown and Natalie Williams, took this opportunity to inject some humour into the day by refining the legendary “”come on England” chants. This bonding exercise concluded with the first ippons of the competition as Kate and Natalie ambushed, swept and punched a bemused Davin!
The remainder of the day was taken up with the physio attending to those athletes with aches, pains and bruises and the coaches completing their one to one briefings with the squad.
Dinner at 7pm
was followed by a final pre tournament briefing from Willie Thomas and then the ceremonial handing out of the competitors name tags.
Good Luck to the athletes competing on Wednesday:
Aimee Sell – Female individual Kata
John Gardiner – Male Individual Kata
Alton Brown -84kg
Amelia Harvey +68kg
Ryan Jay -75kg
Kate Karwacinski -68kg
Let the tournament begin !
The squad now rested, refuelled and rehydrated were ready for their last preparatory sessions with their coaches. Earlier in the day all athletes were registered in the fastest and most efficient process I have ever witnessed at a championship. A testament to German efficiency and an indication of how professionally organised the championships will be.
the squad took the short walk to the stadium for the first of two scheduled sessions in the adjoining hall. The balance between the mental and physical readiness is paramount at this stage and the coaches Willie and Ady structured their respective kumite and kata sessions to reflect these key factors.
It was now clear that the tournament was imminent as National Teams trained in the same vicinity, kiaiing, staring and smiling at each other in an effort to manage their nerves and anxiety.
The squad then returned for their evening meal in the hotel. An excellent buffet was laid on with a healthy emphasis on all options.i.e no chips.
The day concluded with a brief chat from the national coaches with the athletes on expectations and an acknowledgement from the coaching staff of the great sense of team spirit within the squad.
Hi all and welcome to the first of 7 days of reviews, assessments and results from the 22nd world karate championships in Bremen, Germany. This is the premier event on the karate calendar with over one hundred national teams competing.
The England team of 24 athletes, 4 coaches and our physio arrived in the host city shortly after 11am after a dawn start and power naps on the plane. The early arrival at the hotel meant that the group had time to familiarise themselves with Bremen while rooms were made ready. After everyone was checked in a protracted sleep was impressed by the national coach before meeting for dinner at 7.15pm.
A Short walk to the HQ hotel for dinner took the team through the last night of the “Oktoberfest “. What a wonderful spectacle and carnival atmosphere this cultural extravaganza is, it acted as a tremendous prelude to the excitement and energy of the forthcoming championship. After an excellent meal the squad were given a quick refresher on do’s and don’ts from Mo the physio and headed for bed.
Tuesday will see the registration of the athletes and a first taste of world championship atmosphere as they have the first of their preparatory training sessions at the competition venue
Head of Delegation