The USKFI got the competition season off to a flying start last weekend with the National Youth Championships which were held in the Phibblestown Karate Club. The competition which is for members under twenty one only is a perfect opportunity for members to impress under the watchful eyes of USKFI squad coaches Sensei Sherlock and Sensei Royle. Sensei Sherlock and Sensei Royle took centre stage to watch over all the USKFI hopefuls picking out those showing potential for the USKFI international squad. With over one hundred competitors in attendance on the day both the audience and our senior instructors were in for an action packed day.
The day kick-started with the junior kata events, possibly the most supported event of the day there was some tough competition between the USKFI juniors. We saw many future champions in this event. Aaron Smyth, Arisha Foysal, Mina Sturzu to name but a few had some very strong performances and certainly are ones to watch out for in the future. We saw Ryan Cronin of Greystones SKC, Mohammed Bashir of Corduff SKC, Caoilfhionn Rothwell from Huntstown SKC and Matt Cieniuch of Lucan SKC all sailing through their kata rounds. While Caoilfhionn and Mohammed had to settle for joint third whilst both Ryan and Matt made it into the final where Ryan pipped Matt to the post to take home gold. For members of such a tender age and grade there were some excellent performances. Keep up the good work guys. In the 11-15yrs Kata event we saw Phibblestown SKC's Patricia Hurjui take home gold after meeting fellow club member Dean Shine in the final. Some fine performances by both competitors in the eliminations and were deserved of their place in the finals.
For the junior kumite events again we saw members with lots of potential coming through the ranks. In the Sanbon Kumite event we saw Zuzanna from Navan SKC put in some fine performances, another one to watch for the future. We saw Phibblestown SKC’s Arisha Foysal and Godsword Ubibe sail their way through to the final where Godsword was just that bit stronger than Arisha and he eventually took home the Gold. In the children’s Ippon Kumite event which is probably one of the toughest of the day we say many little stars emerging. We saw Navan’s Hannah Stewart, Kingscourt’s Shay Kelly, Lucan’s Jake Farrell just a couple of the many performers that stood out on the day. We had two of our regular finalists go through to the final once again with Dimitri Kavanagh and Ray Foysal battling it out for the gold which in the end Ray’s crisp and dynamic technique beat Dimitri to 1st place.
In the girls kumite events we saw some newcomers to the girls 10-12 years kumite, Isabella Sturzu and Nadia Nya put up a good fight for their debuts with Nadia making it to the final to face Lucan SKC's Tori Maher. Tori's strength was all too much for Nadia and although she put up a very good fight against her taller stronger opponent Nadia settled for the silver with Tori taking home the gold after some very strong performances.
We also saw Hartstown SKC's Emma Donoghue storm through her eliminations in the girls 13-15yrs category. Emma showed great determination and by the looks of things there was nobody going to stand in the way of her gold medal. She fought with a lot of character and dominated all her opponents. In the final she met Lucan's Sophie Farrell where once again her determination was apparent. Although Sophie put up a tough fight Emma only had her eye on 1st place and managed to outscore her opponent to win in decisive fashion.
Probably one of the most exciting events of the day is the boy’s kumite events. To start we seen the boys 10-12 yrs. kumite with many tough exciting matches on the day. Karl Rennicks scored with some fantastic techniques including a super Ippon against fellow squad member James Doran. We saw newcomer Dean Shine battle through the rounds where he would eventually meet USKFI squad member Mapalo Mwenya in the final. Mapalo sailed through his eliminations showing his experience and composure to beat his opponents in a true champion’s style. In the final Mapalo had more of a battle on his hands with Dean that bit taller and stronger, he put Mapalo under a lot of pressure. Mapalo’s sharp hand speed was too much to handle and Dean was caught out with some sharp gyaku tsukis. Mapalo went home with a well-deserved 1st place in both Kumite and Kata after a beating James Doran in the Kata final also with his strong performance of Jion.
Another stand out performer in the boys 13-15yrs Kumite event was Yacine Ghanem. Yacine who had a fantastic year last year started off in similar fashion. Easing past fellow squad member Ciaran O Connor in the first round, he had more of a battle on his hands in the second round against Jojo Khan. Jojo certainly put up a tough fight and wasn't going to be easy pickings for Yacine. Yacine had to keep his composure and in the end his fast techniques caught Jojo out. In the final Yacine met Hartstown's Connor Brennan, Yacine's sharp combination of mawashi geri kizami tsuki was too much for Conor and before he knew it the fight had ended with Yacine scoring with the Ippon.
As the day progressed we seen USKFI squad members Lee Mc Carty and Sean O Connor battle it out in the finals of both cadets kata and kumite final where Sean's strength and reach was just a bit much for Lee to handle where Sean eventually took Gold in both events. This event concluded what was a very busy but exciting day. We saw many new members moving through the ranks showing lots and lots of potential. We look forward to seeing them compete in the next Kata competition coming up in February.
The USKFI would like to thank all our members for their continuous support. In particular the members and parents who spent the time to help set up for the event and clear up after it had finished. We would like to thank the competitors, officials, instructors and parents for all their support over the years and helping to make these events such a success. Thank you all.