Karate Wales Attend the WUKF European Champions for all ages


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Karate Wales Governing Body took a big step forward when a 44-strong Karate Wales squad attended The WUKF European Championships for all ages, at the English institute of Sport in Sheffield from Friday 18th until Sunday 20th October.

Although the tournament was over three days, Friday to Sunday, referees briefings and exams began on Wednesday.

Registration of competitors, a Presidents meeting, and the Opening Ceremony all took place on Thursday

Andrew Jones from Glynneath Karate Club (WKA) represented Wales at the referee seminars and it can be reported that he has achieved WUKF Kansa (Judge) qualification. 

Well Done Andrew!

The WUKF Website had been compromised in the days leading up to the event, meaning that every single entry had to be manually checked on Thursday, first by each coach, then by the organisers.

Therefore Rob Copeland who led the delegation, had to spend a considerable amount of time queuing and waiting around with coaches of other federations to ensure all was in order for our squad to compete.

The evening saw our squad join thirty-nine other squads from twenty other countries for the opening ceremony. 

Quite an event in itself that will live long in the memory. 

Our supporters were proud to see our athletes parade behind the Welsh Flag alongside the other Home Nations; England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as such strong Karate Nations as France, Romania, Poland, Russia, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Hungary among others.

On Friday morning the tournament began, and began with a bang for Wales!

Chiara Baker was among a very strong group of girls from all over Europe in the U-10 Girls Kata, but nevertheless shone!

As WUKF events employ the points system, with each contestant marked on their performance with the top twelve progressing to the semi-final and top six to the final, Chiara had only to prepare three Kata.

She progressed to the final in Number One position and didn't falter to become Wales' first WUKF European champion!

The extremely high standard saw none of our other Kata competitors find the podium, but a lot was learnt from watching Kata at such a high level! 

There were very many categories (Kata for cadets, Juniors and Seniors is divided into styles at WUKF events) and countless excellent Kata athletes to watch everywhere! A real Karate feast!

Kumite began on Saturday and again the high standard saw reaching the second round a huge hurdle!

At this level, the majority of those present were champions! No National Squad in Europe would send fighters all the way to England to simply make up the numbers! Everyone our athletes faced was excellent!

Finnian O'Donovan's  ability is unquestioned and in Sheffield he fought brilliantly to reach the last four before narrowly missing out on a place in the final, earning a fantastic Bronze medal!

Leah Copeland pulled out all the stops in the Junior Ladies Kumite (18-20) to also win a European Bronze medal.

Five siblings of the Hutchinson family train with Sensei Lee Costa at the WKJK all competing successfully. However they couldn't have expected to emerge from a Championships of this calibre with so much silverware! Trinity took the gold medal in the 10-12 Girls Beginner to 7th Kyu Kumite section with older sister Tylia taking a bronze in the 13-14 6th to 4th kyu Kumite, and younger sister Keana also taking a bronze in the 6-8 Beginner to 7th Kyu event!

Annabel Stacey from WKA, although still a low grade, is an experienced and talented competitor and it was no surprise to see her win a silver medal in the 9-10 Years Beginner to 7th Kyu Kumite.

Luke Howard, is certainly Karate Wales' star at the moment, being recently crowned IKU World Champion in Italy!

He again showed his class at the WUKF's, beating excellent opposition to reach the last four in both his events, the under 21s and Senior Mens U65Kg categories. 

Fate was against Luke on this occasion, as both categories took place at the same time! The confusion didn't help his concentration, but he fought bravely and brilliantly, failing by the narrowest of margins to duplicate his achievements of a few weeks earlier and was forced to settle for a silver in the U21s and a Bronze in the Seniors.

Lee Ockwell took a silver in the Mens Ippon kumite section, fighting bravely in the final against an excellent Polish fighter, who ultimately had too much experience and ability for Lee.

Lee went on to win another medal, a bronze, as alongside WKU and Karate Wales team-mates Robert McCormick and Rhys Jones our boys took third place in the Mens Team Ippon Kumite category.

Gareth Rowe fighting in the Mens Veterans Sanbon Kumite 46-50 years rolled back the years and showed some of his old magic in the eliminations, narrowly missed securing a place in the final. Ferenc competed in the Over-36 Ippon Kumite, and such is the nature of Ippon events that one mistake was all it took in his semi-final match to end his hopes of reaching the final.

Ferenc had picked up an injury to his foot but nevertheless bravely stepped onto the mat with his team-mates versus Ireland for the Sanbon Rotation event. This category, likened to Tag-team, was a thrilling contest! 

Ferenc was able only to start proceedings, forced to leave the rest of the match to Gareth and Wayne. Ireland had three good fighters and it was therefore no surprise, despite Wales' valiant effort, that Ireland  took the match.

This was the biggest and highest quality event any of our squad have ever attended and all left with a thirst for more!

The task of organising a competition involving 1300 competitors from forty squads from twenty-one countries was mammoth, the standard of Karate in very many areas was phenomenal and inspirational and Karate Wales can be very proud to have given such a brilliant opportunity to so many!



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