The first day of four days of competition finally arrived! The whole day before there were plenty of questions about what it was going to be like, how we’d felt when we’d competed at Worlds etc. When we walked into the arena the nerves were clear to see on the faces of everyone in the squad. Completely normal given everyone is competing at their first world championships!
The days agenda had min-cadets team kata and Kumite, and 14-15 cadets open kata and open Sanbon Kumite.
The boys team kata we’re on first, with the whole team watching and parents and competitors all looking and feeling anxious. However, the mood soon changed when the boys came back with a bronze medal, narrowly missing the silver! Anxiety was switched with jubilation on everyone’s faces. It was a very special moment for the boys but also the whole travelling team. Medals presented on a large podium added to the occasion!
Following the boys team kata the girls individual open kata got underway. With 41 in the division, and 4 pools, it was always going to be a long and tough division.
Narjis was on first in pool 2 performing a strong Bassai Dai. Layjha followed about 40 min later with another strong Bassai Dai.
Unfortunately, Narjis didn’t make it through but Layjha did progress to the top 18 and followed with a strong Supereimpai. The standard in the division was extremely high, and unfortunately Layjha didn’t make the final 6 cut. However, both performed very well at their first world championships. The open kata was great warm up and chance to get rid of any butterflies ahead of their style kata categories tomorrow .
The boys team Kumite was on whilst Layjha was competing in round two. Following the success of the team kata the boys were less nervous and now on a mission to improve on their bronze medal. Starting team was Ariz, Alex and Adel with Reda as reserve. Ariz, on first got the team off to a flying start against a strong opponent from the USA. Alex followed and fought well against a tricky opponent. Adel within seconds of starting was on the wrong end of an excessive Mawashi geri, knocking his confidence slightly. Ariz then returned to carry the team to an 11-5 victory!
Progressing well, the boys reached the final against Team Canada. Fighting in the same order as fight 1 , Ariz again put points on the board for the team before switching out. Alex came flying off the line on his first Hajime catching the opponent unaware, and landing a beautiful ippon. Completely unexpected for a counter fighter! Adel swapped in and fought well. Ariz again switched on, saw the team to Gold with a completely ‘take no prisoners’ approach.
If the energy of the team had been high when they had gold medals, it’s was emphatic for the gold with the whole support team and competitors chanting and cheering the fighters on. A podium presentation with the national anthem
playing will be a memory that they remember for many years to come!
Layjha was then the only competitor left for us for the day in girls open Sanbon Kumite. The mats running 3 hrs behind made timing warning up difficult. However, finally Layjha stepped on the mat against an excellent fighter from Poland, who had just been part of the gold medal team Kumite division. Layjha to the initiative early on in the fight and scored a quick two points. With 7 seconds to go, the score was 3-3 Layjha decided to go for victory off the line, rather than leave it to the refs decision and unfortunately was scored upon. The gamble didn’t pay off. However, this was one of the best fights we’ve seen from Layjha recently and was a great warm up and learning opportunity for the weight categories.
Following the end of the competition for the day we headed to the beach to watch the 4th of July fireworks! This was a lovely experience for the team and finished off a good day well.
Happy Birthday to karate mum to Frank, who asked for medals for her birthday and the team delivered! We even arranged fireworks!
What a first day! Nerves, tears, joy and laughter. Next it’s on to individual kata!
All photos on Facebook