On the 6th February almost 50 competitors between the ages of 6-40 woke up well before 6am to travel to South Shields to take part in the Dokan Karate Association Karate Championships.
The ambitious team finished second on the medal table in terms of medals won! Beaten only by the hosting club. This is made all the more incredible considering, that of the squad that competed 30 had never done an external competition before, and were competing on a big platform for the first time.
The efforts of the team meant that most of the competitors that attended came home with a medal, or three.
The competition also provided the first of many competitions between now and the July 2022 World Union of Karate Federation World Championships, in Florida, for the more experiences competitors to test their skills and identify areas of improvement. Ichiban Karate are hoping to send a squad of 8-10 competitors between the ages of 6 – 15 years to Florida, depending on the success of their fundraising efforts.
A special mention of exceptional performances goes two of the squad’s youngest competitors Dani (9) and Frank (6) who both on their first outing with the squad managed to come home with three medals each. Both boys have been training for less than a year.
Kylie Greeff, Ichiban Karate coach, says : “Going into the competition in South Shields I was nervous about how many of the competitors would respond to the extra pressure and bigger occasion, however the handled it fantastically and proved that they have a very bright future ahead of them, if this is how they performed at their first competition. It was also excellent to see how the older, more experienced children in the squad encouraged and supported the new members and still also managed to put on excellent performances themselves. There are definitely a number of future World Champions in this group of children!”
Ichiban Karate offer karate classes in Meanwood and in Gipton, with many of its students coming from lower-income households. Whilst karate has a relatively low barrier to entry as a sport, regular competitions, which are important for the continued improvement of the students comes at a cost, making attending competitions inaccessible for many of the squad.
The team are actively looking for corporate and individual sponsors to help many of the squad attend the 2022 World Championships as well as other local competitions and would love to hear from local businesses and individuals that are in interested in supporting the team.