Following on from their fantastic display at the recent KUGB National Championships the USKFI Junior Squad were out in full flight at this weekend's KUGB National Youth Championships in Chesterfield UK.
The Squad who consisted of Sean O Connor, Claire Elliot, Leeanne Royle, Jordan Canavan, Ciaran Caulfield, Erika Gough, Evan Hickey, Leon Hoban, Mapalo Mywenya and James Doran took the tournament by storm with some tremendous performances on the day.
USKFI Junior Squad Members from L-R Claire Elliot, Leeanne Royle, Erika Gough, Jordan Canavan, Evan Hickey and Leon Hoban.
First up for the day was Erika Gough for Kata, after sailing through her elimination rounds she went on to take home gold in the novice Kata event performing an excellent Heian Nidan in the final. Erika who recently graded to 5th Kyu made the progression up to the 12-15 Kumite section, she battled it out against her opponent but after a scoreless draw the referees decided in favour of her opponent.
Next up were the boys for the Black Belt Kata section, this went on to be a very difficult event with some classy performances from some of the best Karateka the UK have to offer. The USKFI boys did very well with Sean, Jordan and Evan going through many rounds narrowly missing out on a place in the final. Although this was probably one of the toughest events of the day Leon Hoban beat the current KUGB National Champion to land himself a place in the final where he eventually took home Bronze.
In the Brown Belt Kata event it was Mapalo's turn to display his skills and although there was a small mix up he went on to win this event not once but twice having to perform his Kata for the second time changing it from Heian Nidan to Bassai Dai.
On to the Ippon Kumite event and once again the USKFI boys dominated this category with James Doran just missing out on a place in the final where Leon took home the Gold and Mapalo Bronze.
Evan Hickey moved up to the 10-11 Boys Kumite event where he put on a valiant display against some very strong opponents and although Evan went through a few rounds he also missed out on a place in the final as his final match ended in a scoreless draw and the referee ruled in favour of Evan's opponent.
Only her second trip away it was Claire Elliot's time to shine. She upped her game from the Nationals and went on to take home a Bronze medal in the Girls Kumite 12-15yrs.
The highlight of the weekend was when Leeanne Royle claimed the prize of Grand Champion. Leeanne stormed through the Kata eliminations and went on to perform a superb Empi in the final to take home Gold. Prior to this triumph though Leeanne had a real battle on her hands in the Kumite event. In her first match she won comfortably with a sensational Jodan Mawashi Geri winning by Ippon. Next round though Leeanne faced the current KUGB National Champion but after the two minute match with no score the match was extended by one minute. Leeanne who is possibly the youngest competitor in this event showed her determination and winning mentality and went on to beat her much bigger opponent with two clinical Kizami zuki scores. This sent her into the final where she decisively beat her opponent and went on to be crowned a very well deserved Grand Champion.
Grand Champion Leeanne Royle performing Kata Empi
The USKFI would like to say congratulations to all the squad members who competed over the weekend. The junior squad members have clearly made their mark on the International circuit and it is a pleasure to see such a fantastic bunch of juniors coming through the ranks setting the standard for others to follow. It was a great weekend for all and we are very proud of the spectacle they put on. The display of camaraderie among the team that travelled from the competitors, coaches, referees and parents was uplifting and the USKFI would like to thank everybody for their continued support and dedication.
Well done all and we look forward to seeing you all compete in the upcoming USKFI Youth Championships!!