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44th European Championships Sofia Bulgaria 14-19 February 2017
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The first day of competition began with the English Team fielding a well prepared Kata contingent. Unfortunately the draws were not kind and our first representative Luke Easton making his debut with Paiku in the individual cadet category lost 4 – 1 to his Czech opponent.
Abbie Cook was next out against an accomplished Spanish adversary. Abbie performed Chatanyara Kushanku and lost 5-o. Given an opportunity in the repêchage Abbie gave it her all performing Annan but narrowly lost to Turkey, 4-1. It was now left to Aimee Sell our current World Junior Bronze Medallist to compete. Aimee performed Annan to her normal exemplary standard but alas and to collective audible surprise amongst the English contingent lost 3 – 2 to Italy. Her Italian victor was beaten next round and Aimee’s medal hopes ended. The Nationa Kata Coach Jonathan Mottram did not allow his athletes to dwell on their losses and after given them all constructive feed back rallied the whole squad to focus on supporting their team mates preparing for Kumite.
First out was Mitchell Thorpe against an Irish Opponent. Mitchell worked hard throughout a tight match and eventually got his distance and won 1 – 0. Mitchell then rode the confidence of his first win at an International Championships by beating Slovakia 3 – o with fast and effective head and body punches. His Croatian opponent had no answer to Mitchell’s beautifully timed counters and attacks and he now found himself in the semi-finals against an Italian opponent. Mitchell initially struggled to match his opponents intensity but after losing the first 2 points started clawing back. On this day however the Italian was too good and as time went it was 4-2 and Mitchell was out. Nevertheless all was not lost. The success of his Italian foe meant Mitchell had the Bronze Medal match to look forward to and what a performance. Mitchell dominated the match leaving his Turkish opponent chasing shadows while he peppered him with perfectly timed head and body punches. The Turks frustrations got the better of him and as the clock ticked down and with Mitchell leading 5 -1 the Turk penalised again for excessive contact and the English contingent erupted in celebration of Mitchell’s superlative Bronze medal. Fantastic performance.
Next out was Thomas Tutty who came out purposefully and with real desire. After scoring the first point Thomas was on the receiving end of his over zealous Macedonian opponent who managed to get himself disqualified for excessive contact. Thomas moved into the next against his Greek opponent with the same commitment but unfortunately went down 5 -o after a spirited contest.
Emelye O’Brien came out firing, vanquishing her Finnish opponent 4 -1 with a flurry of kicks and punches. She then had a tough match against a difficult Spanish opponent narrowly losing 2- o even after seemingly scoring with a beautifully executed hook kick.
To complete the day came Francesca (Fran) Hardcastle who had her work cut out with a very able Slovakian fighter who won 6 – 0. Fortunately for Fran her opponent won through to the Final. Fran dusted herself down and worked through the repêchage with a masterclass of movement, timing and technique against Serbia 4 -2 and a Swedish opponent who she beat on disqualification after dominating the match. Fran showed her determination, tenacity and composure by trouncing her Russian opponent 4 -2 to win England another hard fought Bronze medal. Another magnificent performance and a testament to the experience of the coaches, the commitment of the athlete and the the unwavering support of the team mates, families and friends..
Lets have more of the same tomorrow please.
Greg Francis – HOD
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