More success for Karate Wales at the UWK England Open 2015

More success for Karate Wales at the UWK England Open

'UWK England' is the Unified body in England that has been formed to represent England at the UWK Worldwide events, it is said to now be the biggest Karate Body in Britain.Therefore the UWK England Open, which took place at the Ponds Forge International Arena on Sunday 22nd November was a big and prestigious event! Six areas were in constant use throughout the day with a 9am start and an 8pm finish.

Karate Wales attended with a squad of 30 competitors, and again emerged with dramatic results!

The competition began with Kata events where Karate Wales claimed a host of medals. The first gold medal of the day came from Vale Karate’s Emma Squire, who won the Girls 15-17 Kata, a great result as she was probably the youngest competitor in the category! Karate Wales’ new National Kata Coach Andrew Kanias, then led by example, winning the Mens Veteran Kata event and coming third in the mens Shito-Ryu section. Two of Andrew’s own students, Thomas Kerslake and Kathryn Collis followed in his footsteps, each taking bronze medals in the 15-17 male and female Shitoryu events respectively.

Wales’ youngest squad member; Ellie-Jayne Farrugia aged 9, took a bronze in the Under 10 Kata while Chiara Baker aged 11, took a bronze in the 10-12 year category before stepping up to the 12-14 category where she took another bronze! Daniel Page went one better, taking a Silver medal in the 13-14 Open Kata.

We had two ladies in the Kata events with Rahine Karunanithy taking a silver in the Ladies 4th Kyu & Below division and Leah Copeland taking medals in both the Ladies Shotokan event where she was narrowly beaten by the Romanian multiple WUKF World champion Eva Kerekes, before putting in the Kata performances of her life to take the gold medal in the Ladies Open! With three gold and nine silver or bronze kata medals won, the squad turned their attention to the kumite.

Chelsea Langa and Josh Davies had won gold medals the previous day at the AKA Championships and continued their sparkling form in Sheffield to again take gold medals in their kumite divisions! Chelsea in the Girls U10’s and Josh in the 13-14 U165cm event, where he beat team mate Jacob Denham in a close final. Lauren Gallagher took part in both the Girls 13-14 U155cm and the Girls 12-14 Ippon event and came very close to winning both events, with a gold and silver respectively!

Jack George, although only 12, won the last Welsh Karate League U14 event, beating boys who are now 14. He again demonstrated his improvement and a hint of what may be to come with brilliant displays, winning both the 10-12 145cm+ event, beating Morgan Harvey in the final, and the 12-14 Shobu Ippon event, where he headed a Wales 1-2-3-3 with Tushi Karunanithy  in silver and Josh Davies and Josh Dwyer  in Bronze medal positions. These results were all the more impressive considering the large number of competitors in these categories!

Josh Dwyer was also amongst the medals in the 13-14 165cm+ category where he won another bronze medal. Alysha Lee, another fast improving fighter was a whisker away from reaching the final in the 10-12 145cm+ event, earning a well deserved bronze medal.

Leah Copeland had no time, and was in no mood to celebrate her Kata Gold medal as her Kumite category was imminent and full of talent. Leah had a bye in the first round, but was in the toughest part of the draw as her first opponent was none other than WUKF’S top female fighter, Romania’s Magdalena Tier, who won the Under 60Kg and Open events at the UWK and WUKF World Championships in Slovenia last month, beating Leah in the second round on that occasion.

In the shock result of the tournament, Leah fearlessly threw herself into the challenge and brought her supporters to their feet with a great win. Anything less than the gold medal would still have been somewhat anticlimactic, but she didn’t disappoint, beating two of England’s best females on the way to taking her second gold medal of the day.

Rhydian Pullin and Brandon Harvey were among the last Wales fighters to compete and each came close to adding to Wales’ gold medal tally, both narrowly falling at the final hurdle, to secure well won silvers.

The 10-14 Male Rotation team event took place at 8pm, the last event of a gruelling day. Harrison Williams, Josh Dwyer and Jack George represented the Principality in style and had secured a 7-2 win at time up, only to be disqualified due to a rule infringement by their Coach Rob Copeland. The gold medal going to the AKA team from the Midlands. The Welsh team can nevertheless be proud of their efforts and handled their disappointment with admirable maturity.

A rather unfortunate and subdued end to a great event which highlighted again the immense strength of the Karate Wales squad!



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