More Gold for Karate Wales at the IKU World Championships 2015

MORE GOLD FOR KARATE WALES AT THE IKU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015

Only two weeks after the UWK World Championships were brought to a close, Karate Wales were again active at another IKU World Championships which took place in Maribor, Slovenia. This time it was the IKU World Karate Games for children, World Cup for seniors and veterans and World Championships for cadets and juniors.

Though, Slovenia was again the venue, bringing a sense of déjà vu to the three members of the delegation, Rob Copeland, Leah Copeland and Luke Howard, who attended both Championships, Maribor in the north east, near the Austrian border is about as far from Koper, in the south west, on the Italian border as is possible in Slovenia. In fact another country, Croatia, came into the equation, as the squad flew to Zagreb from Heathrow, this being the simplest and most economical option.

Whereas Koper delivered miserable weather, with rain every day, Maribor was sunny throughout! Not what was expected!Once again the Championships were preceded by a Congress which was of huge interest to Karate Wales’ Presidential delegation, Rob Copeland and Stephen Wellington, as, like in Koper, talk of a new chapter in World Karate took place with the ‘UWKF' being discussed.

Karate Wales had only a small squad of five competitors taking part at these IKU Championships and although the IKU is newer, and perhaps consequentially much smaller than the WUKF, the quality at the top and in particular the adult events certainly rivals WUKF.

The Children’s event took place on the Friday with Chelsea Langa from the WSKA (Chirk) and the Ken Bu Kan duo of Josh Davies and Jacob Denham all in action. Chelsea was up against it straight away as her Kata category; Brown & Black Belts (9-10 years) was combined with the older age group. Not surprisingly Chelsea did not progress. In the Kumite too, she was up against more experienced and bigger girls and found the going very tough. Her bravery shone through though and she will have benefited from the experience.

Josh and Jacob are much more experienced at this level and flew the Welsh Flag with gusto! They both made the final of the Wado Kata category and with excellent performances, beaten only by an excellent Irish youngster, took Wales’ first medals with Josh taking silver and Jacob the bronze.

Josh and Jacob were unfortunately fighting at the same time, though luckily on adjacent mats, so Rob and Stephen could overlook their Kumite progress. Both were on fire! Jacob, fighting in the +45kg category came up against a huge boy in the first round who at around 6ft, and 14st plus towered over Jacob! Plus the boy was good! However, undeterred, Jacob successfully negotiated the challenge to continue to progress all the way to the final. Meanwhile Josh was also at his every best in his category and with his excellent timing in full flow, also progressed to the final!

The challenges ahead were immense. Both boys gave 100% with Jacob losing narrowly to take silver and Josh adding the IKU World Games title to his burgeoning collection winning the gold medal.

Leah Copeland is knocking on the door of the very highest level of IKU & WUKF in both Kata and Kumite, but is not quite there yet. She narrowly failed to reach the last six of Kata and was beaten by an excellent Italian in the Kumite. Leah fought for the bronze medal but was again narrowly beaten, by the experienced Clare Maden of England.

Luke Howard has won two previous IKU World titles and fresh from his biggest win to date, the WUKF/UWK World title was under immense pressure to continue his imperious record. His semi-final was conducted with inexperienced officials at this level and Luke struggled to score, at one point lagging 5-2 behind his French opponent! But, as has been the case on many, many occasions, Luke found a way to win, stacking up the points to reach the final.

A brilliant fighter from Chile stood in his way but, Luke, although suffering from a hamstring injury which restricted his trademark kicks, delivered one of the very best performances of his career to date, completely dominating and demoralising his opponent with a 5-0 win the gold medal. Luke is now preparing for the UWKF Pre-World Championships in Romania in December.

And finally a word of congratulations to Andrew Jones, Karate Wales Chief Referee. Andrew worked tirelessly for four days, including a written and practical examination and emerged with an IKU 'World Referee' qualification.

 


 

 

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