The KUGB's 39th Shotokan Cup took place on Saturday at the Queens Park Leisure Centre in Chesterfield. This event which is only open to Black and Brown Belts always attracts a large entry of competitors from across the UK with this year in particular numbers being up. The USKFI had a strong squad of twelve representing Ireland on the day. Our competitors showed tremendous fighting spirit and sportsmanship and produced karate of the highest order on the day.
Leeanne Royle followed on her run of success becoming Grand Champion for the 4th time in her short illustrious karate career. Leeanne took home gold in two very tough events. There were a very large number of competitors with a very high standard of karate on display but Leeanne’s quality shone through once again and she added another couple of titles to her impressive repertoire. Next stop for Leeanne is the European Shotokan Karate Championships that will be held in Zurich in November.
Leon Hoban and Mapalo Mwenya had an outstanding tournament with both boys dominating the 10-11years old Kumite event. The boys scored some superb scores on the day adding a couple of Ippons to their impressive tally. Unfortunately the boys met each other in the semi final and Mapalo just pipped his team mate to the post with some sharp gyaku tsuki counter attacking techniques. Leon had to settle for a well deserved bronze medal. Mapalo eventually went on to take home silver in a hard fought out battle in the final. Both lads were also very impressive in the boys’ Kata event. This was by far the largest event of the day with approx 100 competitors in this event alone with a very high standard of competitors. Both Mapalo and Leon were tremendous in the eliminations and their quality really stood out on the day, they cruised into the semi finals where both lads performed Kata Heian Nidan which secured their place in the final. Both members performed Kata Jion in a very tough but close final. Leon eventually took home bronze in this event and Mapalo’ crisp technique helped him to take home the title.
We also had a finalist in the Senior Ladies Kata event; Eleanore Coates had some strong performances in the earlier rounds which secured her place in the final where she eventually went on to take home third place.
Our stand out performer on the day was Yacine Ghanem. A newcomer to the squad this year, this was only Yacine’s third trip away representing the USKFI. After a tough couple of tournaments Yacine worked really hard throughout the summer months to up his game and came back quite literally fighting!! Yacine who has just turned thirteen is in one of the toughest events of the tournament. He was possibly the youngest and one of the smallest in the event but that did not stop him. His lightning hand speed proved too much for any of his opponents to handle. After some very tough elimination rounds he made it through to the final where he eventually came out the victor taking home the title.
Overall the squad performed superbly on the day with many of our members making it to the semi final stage missing out on a place in the finals by very small margins. This in itself is an achievement considering just how much of a high level competition the KUGB have to offer. It is fantastic to see our squad continue to develop and grow and as always the event produced some terrific highlights from our young competitors and identified many future champions. It may have not been their day this weekend but we are sure their time will come in the future. There was a super attitude from all our members throughout the day and it was great to see all the constant hard work pay off. The USKFI would like to thank each member of the squad that travelled, from all the parents that accompanied the team to our referees and our coaches. Each member supported one another throughout the day and there was a great sense of camaraderie among the team. We would like to send out a special thank you to our squad coaches Sensei Michael Sherlock and Sensei David Royle for the constant hard work, dedication, time and effort put in, they clearly lead by example and all their hard work has paid off with such tremendous results today.
Well done all!!
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