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51st Senior European Championships, 5-8 May 2016 - Montpellier, France
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The England Team is certainly on a 'high' going into the last day, not just because of the medals so far, but because of the way we have consistently triumphed over highly skilled opposition. Today was for team kata and for the under 21s.
The male team kata was first, with Chris Karwacinski, Navin Patel and James Scanlon competing for England. In the first round they faced a very experienced Spanish Team and though they performed the kata 'Enpi' very well and in time, their opponents were excellent and they lost 5-0. Spain went on to lose to the eventual winners, Turkey, so we did not make the repechage.
The female kata team of Aimee Sell, Melissa Williamson and Natalie Payne fared somewhat better. In round 1 they faced Serbia and performed 'Annan' kata with great timing and skill, winning 5-0. In the second round they chose 'Bassai Dai' kata against Croatia, showing great maturity and again winning 5-0. The next round was the semi-final against Greece, where they chose 'Chatanyara kushanku' kata, 74 moves long and a jump. The girls looked very good and won 5-0, taking them into the final and again making history as the first England Kata Team to make a Junior European Final. That was to take place later and the Kumite eliminations were next.
Photo by: Debbie Tutty
First up was Pippa Morris in the female under 60 Kg category. Her first opponent was from Holland and Pippa dismissed her 7-2. Next round was Slovakia and she won comfortably 5-2. She was in the quarter-finals against a Croatian opponent, but Pippa looked confident and in control, winning 2-0. One more bout before the final, but the excellent Swiss fighter managed to use distance very well, winning 6-0. The Swiss girl actually won the event. Pippa then waited patiently for the repechage final against Slovakia, where she fought methodically, winning 2-0. There was no sign of emotion on her face and when everyone came to congratulate her, she gave the quote of the whole championships, saying: "Does this mean I've won the Bronze Medal?" She had been concentrating so much on the bouts, she hadn't realized. Fantastic and well done!
Kate Karwacinski was less fortunate in the over 60 Kg event. She looked good, but her first round bout against Croatia was very close and in the end she lost 2-1, with no repechage place.
Jordan Thomas was in the under 68 Kg event. Another fighter with great talent and good genes, being the son of National Kumite Coach and former World Champion, Willie Thomas. Jordan received a bye in the first round and in the second comfortably beat his Norwegian opponent 4-0. He also looked confident in the next round against Estonia, scoring with long-range techniques and winning 4-0. He was in the quarter-finals against a very good Russian competitor; the Russian went 3-2 up and as Jordan came forward to try and get the score back, he seemed to slip, falling and the Russian scored on him for 3 points. Jordan fought hard in the last seconds, but couldn't pull back and was again scored on with a counter-punch to the face. In the repechage, he looked to be comfortably winning 3-0 but had accumulated warnings through techniques that went past his opponent's head, when his Spanish adversary took advantage by trying to take him to the ground and Jordan was disqualified for holding on.
Tom Hickman is the current World Champion, but had a rather unlucky day in the under 78Kg event. He beat his French opponent 2-1 in the first round, then met a Ukrainian in the second. At the end of the bout they were 3-3, but Tom had easily done most of the attacking and his opponent looked exhausted, yet the 'flags' went 3-2 against him. The Ukrainian was so tired, he hardly performed in the next round and so no repechage place. Tom still has another couple of years being able to compete in this category.
Josh Ferrand lost his first round bout to Russia in the heavyweight category 8-2. The Russian scored 3 points early on in the bout and Josh couldn't seem to get back into the match. His opponent did not progress to the final, so no repechage opportunity.
It was the turn of the female kata team to compete in the final against Turkey. They performed a very strong 'Nipopo' kata and the 'bunkai' or applications of the techniques was clear. Turkey's kata was not at strong and they wobbled on a couple of occasions, though their bunkai was strong. In the end Turkey won 4-1, though many were surprised at the result. Still, a well-deserved Silver Medal for England!
Here is the key result: England were in second place on the medal table! 2 Golds, 2 Silvers and 4 Bronze.......and it could easily have been a few more! Not only did a large number of senior people in the Karate world express admiration at the quality of our performances across all events, but told the EKF President that England has re-established it's proper place amongst the foremost Karate nations.
A fantastic championships for the EKF and a great step forward for English Karate!
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