Karate England finish second in medals table.
The 2nd European champions cup comes a little close to the forthcoming WUKF
European junior championships in Gyor, Hungary. The result was a slight reduction in numbers in the cadet and junior sections but the standard was excellent, if not better than last year and proved a good work out for the Karate England team.
On the first day we saw current English champion Liam Powell take first place in the boys 13-14 heavyweight with squad mate Bobby Grafton taking a creditable bronze in the same section.
In the veterans events karate England made both finals but had to settle for two silvers , Rob Ward losing to the Romanian world silver medallist and Lynn Aston unfortunately being disqualified in her final whilst comfortably leading 5-2.
Most of the squad were competing on the second day.
Holly and Mitchell Roberts continued their winning streak with gold’s in the female and male cadet shito-ryu kata sections. Holly went on to win the best of the best. (all kata style winners competing off against each other). Mitchell took silver in his best of the best match.
Mitchell also took bronze in the male cadet light weight kumite making it a triple medal haul for him.
In the female cadet light weight Maddison Moore stormed through her rounds to win her final and then went on to win the best of the best of the cadets in fine form.
Ashley Ogbekene had some strong opposition in the ladies heavyweights but despite some recurring fitness problems she managed to win her final 6-5 against a tough Romanian opponent. She then went on to win the best of the best in the ladies kumite.
In the men’s middleweight event Nick Karanicholas and Barry Battson both made the semi final but unfortunately it was the same semi final. Barry took the victory and went on to the final whilst Nick had to settle for bronze. In the final however Barry took a finger in the eye and despite some minor heroics had to settle for silver.
In the heavyweights John Anderson was disqualified whilst leading 4-2 during the quarter final. Dan Cuthbert beat some stiff opposition including the Hungarian number one to make the final only to be outclassed on the day by Denmark’s current world champion Spy Maga .
Holly Scanes fought brilliantly in her first international trip to win a bronze in the female cadet heavyweight section , this was followed by the female cadet team of Holly Roberts , Holly Scanes and Polly Goodman taking a well deserved silver in both Sanbon and rotation team events.
In the senior teams the ladies squad was a little thin on this trip so Maddison Moore stepped up from the cadets and Lynn Aston moved down from the veterans to fill the gaps. Ashley Ogbekene continued her fine form and the team took silver in the senior female team rotation.
In the men’s team event we had lost both Nick Karanicholas and Barry Battson from selection due to injuries so our mens team was led out by John Anderson, Dan Cuthbert and Phil Patrick.
In the Sanbon event we lost to Rapid Bucharest 2-1, Rapid being last years winners.
In the team rotation however we had a little more success going through against Hungary and Italy to meet Rapid again in the semi final. This time The England team won through in what was a real battle and faced a very strong Denmark team in the final.
The Danish team with the Greek Maga brothers were looking very strong , the two brothers had won the shobu ippon open and the Sanbon heavynweight events and had swept aside the opposition on their way to the final.
Karate England started off with John Anderson and he quickly took two wazari s (halfpoints) against their third man , Denmark made a change and put on one of the Maga brothers. The score held,the England coach put out Daniel who went forward and scored a jodan kick putting England 4-0 up.
The Danes settled and pegged back to 4-3 , England changed to Anderson. In a fast exchange. The Dane caught John s leg and delivered an illegal throw and briefly John was out of the match. The referee gave chui to Denmark. England changed and Cuthbert came out again and immediately threw a fast jodan hand combination which caused some damage to his opponent s face. After some treatment Dan received a chui also.
Cuthbert got England back to a 6-5 lead with less than a minute to go both teams were on their last warning. England changed again and Anderson came out. Denmark attacked John countered with a face punch and landed too heavily, the Danish fighter needed treatment to a cut lip. England were disqualified, Denmark took the trophy but England kept their pride.
Karate England finished second in the medals table behind the host Romanian team based at Cluj University but ahead of the other 37 squad field. An improvement on last year’s standing said coaches Abdu Shaher and Ian Cuthbert and a stiff test for the juniors going to the European under 21 championships in Hungary in October .
Coaches Abdu Shaher, Ian Cuthbert , Julia Heenan and Brad Moore were more than happy with the 16 man squads performance.
Congratulations also to Azad Kumar, Sonia Powell and Geoff Marks for their work as officials during the weekend.
In a few weeks Karate England will take over 80 people to the WUKF Junior Europeans in Hungary. The best of luck to everyone .