IKU World Games for Children & European Championships for Cadets & Juniors

IKU World Games for Children & European Championships for Cadets & Juniors

London's SportDock was the venue, when the International Karate Union hosted the 2nd IKU World Games for Children on Friday 31st October and the 1st IKU European Championships for Cadets and Children on Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd November.

This was a much smaller event than the WUKF World Championships that Karate Wales recently attended in Poland, however, although numbers were much lower with only twelve countries in attendance (five further squads were denied visa's) the quality of the squads present, especially on the Saturday and Sunday when the cadets and Juniors were in action, was as high as we witnessed in Poland. 

Unfortunately, as the opportunities for our squad to compete at high quality events begin to stack up, it has quickly become a problem attending all events, even high profile ones such as these IKU Championships, so many of our top athletes were absent.

This was a pity as several of our full squad could potentially have done very well in London.

Our depleted squad nevertheless numbered eighteen, with eleven from Vale Karate, (Leah, Chiara, Max, Jack, Harrison, Josh, Emma, Rhydian, Finnian, Ryan, & Ella) three from Cardiff Shotokan (Aaliyah, Sumaya & Chahid) two from Kansei (Kathryn & Daniel) and one each from Ken Bu Kan (Josh) and Arashi (Megan) fifteen of these were in action at the Children's event on the Friday, with just three; Kathryn from Kansei and Vale's Leah and Emma competing at the IKU European Championships the following day.
Rob Copeland was supported by Luke Howard in coaching the squad for the entire Championships, with Leah, competing herself on Saturday and Sunday, also helping out on Friday.
Andrew Jones was again in attendance as Karate Wales' Referee, and was awarded IKU World Judge at the end of the Championships.

The children's Kata events yielded no medals for Wales, though several got close, earning places in finals. 

The Kumite on the other hand was much more successful for Wales, with Sumaya and Ella fighting brilliantly, earning Wales' first medals. Bronzes. 

Rhydian and Finnian then added more Kumite silverware to our collection, each taking Silver medals.

It was not long before Wales took our first Gold with Arashi's Megan becoming our first IKU Children's World Games Champion, and a little later Josh from Vale Karate took his own World Games title!

The efficiency of the event, meant the Children's event finished reasonably early, and the energy in the stadium then lifted a few degrees as the 14-20 year-olds got the European Championship's started as the cadet and Junior Kata and Kumite team events got underway.

It was here that the quality of the European squads really began to show, with the Italians, who really were a quality squad locking horns with the squads from Romania, Slovenia, Portugal, Russia, Czech Republic etc. and of course strong squads were present from Karate England as well as Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

On Saturday, Kathryn, Emma and Leah all booked their places in Sunday's Kata finals with Emma and Leah then preparing for their Kumite events.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, Leah in the 18-20 Junior event, and Emma in the Cadet A (14 & 15) were called to their mats within minutes of each other!
Both fought very well, taking another step in the direction of their ambitions, however unfortunately couldn't reach the podium.

Sunday really was a feast of quality competition Karate for the spectators. Every single finalist, including our intrepid trio, was handed the microphone so they could introduce themselves to the crowd and it was a thrill for the Welsh supporters to hear 'Kathryn Collis...Wales' 'Emma Squire...Wales' and 'Leah Copeland...Wales' to be greeted by our eager applause!

Great results, if not the dream results we would have wished for followed, with all three girls reaching the rostrum with Kathryn earning a silver in the Female Cadet Shitoryu Kata, Emma a bronze in the Female Cadet Shotokan Kata and Leah a bronze in the Female Juniors Shotokan Kata event.

Luke Howard was honoured to be invited, as a double IKU World champion, to present medals, and did so to none other than England's new Junior Lightweight European champion Maddie Moore and European Heavyweight champion Shauna Carroll.

The Junior team and individual events were contested primarily between Karate England and Italy, and were a hugely memorable experience.
Karate Wales finished the IKU World Games for Children with two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
We took a silver and two bronzes away from the European Championships.

The Championships were friendly and very enjoyable. 
They were of a manageable size and very well organised.

The IKU is a place where we, in Karate Wales can compete and thrive and we look forward to more IKU events.


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