International glory for NWSKC

Thursday, 25 May 2017

EIGHTEEN students from the North West Shotokan Karate Club (NWSKC) travelled to East London to compete in the British Open Karate Championships.

The tournament boasted a huge national and international entry, and there were large categories with numbers exceeding 40 in many instances.

Everyone knew it was going to be a tough competition. There were seven tatamis running and the North West's Sensei, Mandy McNulty, was appointed Tatami Chief on Area 6, which was a great honour and a reflection of her competence and experience.

The morning was dedicated to kata and the North West's star performers in this discipline were Caitlin Sweeney who won bronze and Rachel Carlin who tied for first place and was only beaten by the narrowest of margins when a deciding kata had to be performed.

The team kumite bouts brought some fine performances. The male Cadet team of Stephen John, Laoi, Ronan and Conor fought their way to the final where they used a variety of techniques to score some incredible points to defeat the home team.

The female Cadet team of Lucy, Emma and Rebecca made their way to the final to meet a strong Polish team but the Irish girls fought with great skill and determination to win gold.

The Senior Ladies team of Elaine, Laura and Rebecca made it to the final to meet an experienced English team. Laura was first up and won her bout in impressive style. This was followed by wins for Elaine and Rebecca making it gold for these three North West Teams.

The Senior Male team of Sloan, Eathan, Gerard and Barry, despite their best efforts, had to settle for silver on this occasion bringing the team events to an end.

The individual kumite events all boasted big numbers and were extremely keenly contested. There were bronze medals for Laura, Stephen John, Lucy, Elaine, Sloan and Zara and silver for Rachel, Sloan and Joshua. Fired up by her success in the team events, Emma Ellis fought through five rounds to win gold in a thrilling final.

Elaine had been defeated in the sanbon semi- final by the eventual winner, who is also the reigning European Champion. They met again in the senior female Ippon kumite final. This time, against the odds, Elaine defeated her opponent to claim her second gold of the day and finish on a high.

This was a very successful outing for all the North West competitors not only in terms of medals won but it was a chance to gain valuable experience against high calibre opponents on an international stage.

Chief Instructor, Mandy, and coaches, Eathan, Elaine and Sloan, praised everyone's commitment and thanked the family and friends who had travelled to support the team.


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