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51st Senior European Championships, 5-8 May 2016 - Montpellier, France
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We have another Gold Medal!
Charlotte Wastell (photo right) was the smallest in her pool and yet never looked like losing! Fighting her way to the semi-final, she met an outstanding French opponent. The score was 2-2 with 4seconds left and the French girl tried to 'steal' it with a quick front hand attack, but Charlotte reacted sharply, blocking and countering for a place in the final. A fantastic performance. In the final, Charlotte faced a Swedish opponent a full head taller, yet she 'closed her down' and did not give her a chance to use her reach. Point after point for Charlotte as she beat her adversary to the technique. At full time it was 3-0 and England had another World Champion. It doesn't get any better than that!
Prior to Charlotte's event, some of those in the EKF party had tried to convince National Coach, Willie Thomas, to enter the Veterans' Competition at the next National Championships if she won Gold. Willie was obviously too aware of this girl's talent to take on such a bet.
This result put England 6th on the medal table, which is an outstanding performance. Ahead of us were Egypt, Morocco, Japan, France and Iran. This is out of 180 countries affiliated to the WKF!
Jamal Otto showed his pedigree, fighting his way to the quarter finals, to meet a Turkish opponent. This was perhaps the most exciting and spectacular bout of the whole Championships. Trailing 7-4 at the end of the allocated time, Jamal scored with a magnificent spinning back kick to the head to take the scope to 7-7. The Turkish officials protested, but the point was deemed to have been scored on the bell and not after. At 4-4 in the extension, the bout went to the Turkish competitor. There were a total of six 3-point scoring techniques in this magnificent contest! In the reperchage, Jamal fought through to the bout before the Bronze Medal final and sustained a back injury against his Japanese opponent. Jamal actually won the bout, but because he had been on the ground more than 10 seconds, he was disqualified. It was a shame as he looked very capable of winning a well-delved medal.
Ashley Taylor did not have a good day. He was so nervous in his 1st round bout against his Hungarian opponent that he was physically ill during the match. He clearly had trouble re-focusing afterwards and unfortunately went out.
The England Ladies' Kata Team of Kelly Horsfell, Melissa Williamson and Kira Charlton had had an eventful evening before today's matches: a burst pipe in their hotel room led to water shooting out of the wall......it was like a scene from Titanic! This temporary set-back did not seem to affect their performance. They has a bye in the first round then went out to Chinese Taipei 3-2, so close. Their performance of Shito-Ryu Bassai Dai was excellent.
The England Team did their country proud. Most importantly, many other countries commented on their fighting spirit, the team identity and the exemplary way they all behaved. There we also comments, notably from WKF General Secretary, George Yerolympos, that we have re-established a strong foundation. The future looks very positive indeed!
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