Karate England coaches Abdu Shaher, Ian Cuthbert and Julia Heenan have been all over the world attending IKU, WUKF and WKF championships but there has surely not been a venue quite as exotic as Iguacu Falls. Some 1,000 km inland from the Atlantic Coast, on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, a tributary of the great Piraña river creates 270 waterfalls over a 2.7 km area forming the widest waterfalls in the World.
Deep in the jungle of South America, the Karate England squad had had their shots prepared their creams and insect repellents and arrived ready for a tricky week. The weather was not too hot but humid and cloudy with some rain.
The squad made visits to both the Brazilian and Argentinean sides of the falls. The photo above shows them on the Argentinean side with some of the falls in the background.
The hotel was fine and the local people very friendly, and our hosts very accommodating.
The teams were on the Friday and proved to be not a good day with the male and female Sanbon teams both going out. The Male Ippon team did better reaching both the Ippon and the rotation finals despite having a hantei decision go against them which Coach Abdu Shaher quite rightly managed to get overturned.
The ladies veterans kata team made the finals day on Sunday but the squad generally felt they had under performed.
The opening ceremony followed with some Paraguayan dancers, some excellent team kata and an entertaining rendition of Gangnam style by a local entertainer. Quite a mix there !!
The Saturday saw the individual events and the squad really moved into gear. Sixteen countries were in attendance and although some of the European countries had only brought small squads the athletes they had brought were their very best for sure.
South America was strongly represented with large squads from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Peru. In the veterans kata all 3 of our entrants reached the last 8 Lindsey Andrews, Lisa Letheridge and Tricia Jordan. And in the veterans kumite current
IKU veterans champion Lynne Aston made it through to meet a Brazilian opponent on the Sunday Finals day.
In the female seniors Over68k Shauna Carroll battled her way through to meet arch rival Virginia Pucci from Italy in Sundays final whilst Claire Maden took a bronze in the repercharge final in the same category.
Polly Goodman in the under 60 k went out early on but came back into the repercharge and from3-1 down in her medal match and having just been virtually knocked out with a heavy head kick from her Argentinean opponent she showed tremendous spirit to come back and win the fight on enchosen. Great heart Polly, well done !
In the men’s senior kumite, Garrick Eastwood current IKU Under 65k world champion again made his final in fine form this time in his favoured weight on u60k, dismissing the opposition in his usual style.
In the under 70k Phil Patrick went out to Luke Howard from Wales who went on to take gold. Phil also went out in the repercharge to an Italian fighter but in the other half of the draw Michael Cormack had more luck and although losing to the Brazilian finalist he went on to the repercharge final and took a bronze.
In the men’s under 75kg Dan Cuthbert had serious trouble in his semi final against a difficult
Brazilian opponent , he found himself 3-0 down and on an atenai-chui with only a minute of his 3 minute fight remaining. A switch of tactics and he brought it back to 3-3, then 4-3 up and clinched it with a beautiful jodan-mawash-geri in the dying seconds of the match.
In the shubo Ippon Paul Lineham performed excellently winning a bronze in the process in the Ippon Open.
The individuals had gone much better than expected and the squad looked forward to competing in 8 different finals on the Sunday.
The finals day saw the usual march of the finalists and started promptly with kata.
The ladies veterans kata team of Lindsey , Trisha and Lynne took a well deserved bronze and in the individual shito-ryu kata Lindsey successfully defended her title that she won in Slovenia last year by a slim 0.1 margin, with Lisa Letheridge taking a bronze.
Lindsey Andrews on the podium.
Our other veterans world champion Lynne Aston also successfully defended her title with an extra time sudden death victory over her Brazilian opponent.