The third and last day of the competition for our squad with the last day of the competition only being adult finals.
Frank and Ariz first up again at 09:00.
In the first round Ariz breezed through his fight. Making short work of his American opponent. Showing great composure and speed.
Round 2, unfortunately Ariz was eliminated after falling behind by a point and then a number of decisions not going his way. An unfortunate end to a fantastic first championships from Ariz.
Frank’s Kumite division was over 30 young fighters under 8. Given that Frank is at the bottom of the age bracket for the division, we just wanted him to go out and give it his best and enjoy the day. Fight one, Frank showed significant speed improvement scoring 4 counter gyaku zukis (reverse) punch against a taller opponent, winning the fight 1-4.
Round 2, Frank fell behind early on 1-3 and had to fight hard to get back a point levelling the score, then scored an awesome ippon, winning the fight 5-3! Into the quarter finals. Round 3, Frank faced up to a much bigger Mexican fighter, showing no fear Frank gave it his all, however it was not to be. Frank finishing joint 5th at his first World Championships! Although very disappointed, as in true Frank form, he wanted hold, he’s got nothing to be disappointed about.
Narjis was on soon after, opting for Ippon Kumite rather than Sanbon. Winning her first fight by default due to her opponent from India not showing.
Second round Narjis wins 2-0 in a relatively stress free bout. Into the finals!! Facing up to France, Narjis fought well but a lack of experience in ippon was against her, and unfortunately lost 0-2 but earning herself a 2nd individual world medal, silver.
Next up, Reda in under 155cm 12 yrs Nihon. In a category with 4 pools and 40 fighters it was a long wait for his first fight. He won his first fight nice and cleanly after settling into the bout against an American fighter. Round 2, Reda showed good skill and determination. Winning the fight 4-1. Into the pool semi final against a very skilled Danish fighter. Having watched the Danish fighter’s previous fight he had a game plan.
However stepping onto the tatami, it was clear he was feeling the gravity of the occasion, one fight away from the division semi final and a certain individual world medal ! Unusually static in his fight, the Danish fighter picked off 2 early points and Reda wasn’t able to claim them back. Loosing the fight 0-2. Another Joint 5th place at a first worlds.
Layjha’s division finally called, she looked amped and ready to claim her first worlds medal. Competing in 55-60kg Sanbon Kumite again Layjha was in a tough catagory with 2 pools. Fight 1, Layjha took a little time to settle into the fight against the USA, but when she did she stormed ahead, with a beautiful ura mawashi geri (reverse roundhouse kick) a favourite of hers. Then scoring an ippon with a feint sweep and kizami which I’d never seen her land in competition before. Layjha produced her best Kumite performance to date, a girl possessed and determined winning 6-0.
Fight two against another American fighter Layjha’s movement and timing were on form and she very intelligently made simple work of the fighter, mainly pulling off well timed counters. It’s good to know when to stick to keeping things simple and taking the points.The fight from memory, ended 6-3. Fight 3 one fight from pool finals, Layjha fell behind at the start of the fight and had to fight to get on the board. Changing her movement to be more mobile and break the line she managed to score a lovely chudan Mawashi, level into the score but was then scored upon when remaining too static twice. Unfortunately narrowly loosing the bout. The fire and determination from Layjha was awesome to see. Whilst this World Championships was not a medal one for Layjha, there are definitely medals for her in future ones.
The last division for us at the championships was boys 12, 155cm and over, with Adel and Alex.
First up Alex, who had a blazing day in the team fights on day one, stepped into the ring. Trying to be more assertive and attacking rather than his usual much more laid back style, didn’t work on the day, and unfortunately lost and didn’t progress.
Adel, our last fighter up, fought a great first round winning in points ahead of time, progressed to round two. Adel then faced a very skilled fighter and unfortunately was eliminated. Adel showed great improvement in his speed and control in Kumite.
With that our team’s 1st World Championships came to an end.
Total tally from 8 competitors:
2 Gold - Boys Team Rotational Kumite, Ariz 13 years Other Styles Kata
1 Silver - Narjis 14-15 Girls Ippon Kumite
3 Bronze - Boys 12 Team kata, Frank 8yrs and under kata, Narjis 14-15 Other Styles Kata
The support from the families travelling with the team has been incredible, cheering loudly for everyone win or loose, ensuring everyone was where they needed to be when they needed to be, and also being shoulders to cry on when disappointment or nerves got the better of competitors, the support has been awesome. It’s no exaggeration to say that it would have been impossible for the team to achieve what they did without those that have travelled with the team. Thank you!
Given it was their first championships, the long travel, distance from home and family, realistically our expectations of any medals was low. With our main aim being to learn, enjoy the experience and use it all for the next one. So the results the team achieved were far beyond our realistic expectations, leaving us even more excited for what lies ahead for these athletes and the larger squad going forward.
The final official day of the competition is adults finals. The team will watch the finals, mingle with newly made friends from other teams and enjoy a bit of free time.