Members of the USKFI travelled to Zurich Switzerland in November to take part in the 29th ESKA Championships. Together with USKFI squad coach Sensei David Royle squad members Eleanore Coates, Sean O Connor, Lee Mc Carty and Leeanne Royle all travelled to take part in this prestigious event; the highest level of competition in Shotokan Karate. The competition which has been running since 1986 attracts Europe’s top athletes is run over three days with youths competing on the first day, cadets and juniors on the second day and finally the senior events take place on the third day.
(Leeanne Royle European Champion 2014)
To start off the competition for the USKFI was Leeanne Royle. Leeanne had some very tough matches throughout the day with some of Europe's best athletes. Her first match saw her face the Swiss champion. This bout was both physically and mentally challenging for Leeanne as her opponent had the benefit of the home crowd cheering her on. After a year of very hard work Leeanne came out the victor and in superb style too. Leeanne proved too difficult for any of her next opponents as they could not deal with her versatility or the pressure she applied in each match. Leeanne battled her way to a place in the final where she met the Hungarian champion. Leeanne came off the line with a super sharp jodan gyaku tsuki that was borderline ippon which her opponent had no answer for. The Hungarian was under pressure and had to go for the score but Leeanne's lightening quick mawashi geri finished the match in style winning with ippon. A fabulous result for Leeanne and the USKFI as Leeanne was crowned European Champion 2014 of the Children's Kumite event.
(Leeanne Royle scores with Ushiro geri)
The second day of the tournament saw our cadets Lee McCarthy and Sean O Connor take to the mats. Lee who was making his European debut but in some great performance in Kata and Kumite, he faced some tough opposition in his bouts and unfortunately didn’t progress but gained some vital experience that will stand to him in the future. Sean O Connor who was also competing in the cadet’s event had his best performances to date. His strength and speed proved too much for his opposition and he progressed through the rounds with ease. Sean made it to the third round but unfortunately was beaten by a single wazari. Sean also made significant improvements in his kata events. A great result for Sean and great experience to build on for next year.
(Lee Mc Carty makes his European debut)
(Sean O Connor scores with a jodan gyaku tsuki)
On the final day we saw Eleanore Coates take part in the Senior Ladies Kata and Kumite. Eleanore performed well on the day but was beaten by Polish champion in Kata who eventually went on to take home silver in this event.
(Eleanore Coates scores with jodan gyaku tsuki)
A special congratulation goes out Sensei James Bartley who was awarded his European Referee’s badge. Sensei Bartley passed the stringent qualifying exams to become the first ever Irish ESKA referee. This is a fantastic achievement and one that reflects the standard we aspire too in our organisation. Congratulations to Sensei Bartley and the rest of our team.
(Sensei James Bartley ESKA Referee)
(USKFI's Sensei Bernard Gaffney and Sensei James Bartley in action)
Previous Page | Next Page