As the morning got underway and our enthusiastic members began to fill the dojo the atmosphere began to heighten. With a mixture of excitement and nerves in the air we had all the components to make up a superb action packed day of karate. The morning started out with a quick forty minute lesson under the watchful eye of squad coaches Sensei Michael Sherlock & Sensei David Royle. This was a perfect opportunity for the competitors to settle their nerves before taking to the mats in the eliminations. It was also the perfect time for our squad coaches to select members with the potential to claim a spot on the International USKFI squad for 2016.
(Lucan SKC's James Doran in action)
After the coaches put the USKFI hopefuls through their paces in was time to showcase their skills under the additional pressure of the on looking spectators and disappoint they did not!! The competition got underway with the children's Kata events where we seen some very enthusiastic juniors put on some fine displays. To name but a few we saw Arisha Foysal and Ayllen Jicmon storm through the eliminations were eventually Arisha took home the Gold and Ayllen had to settle for silver. We also saw very good performances from Coaimhe Quirk, Charlie Keogh, Zuzanna from Navan SKC.
After this event we moved onto the more advanced Kata section where we seen the likes of our seasoned competitors Leon Hoban and James Doran storm through their rounds to get to the semi finals, we also seen superb performances from Ray Foysal, Hannah Stewart, Nico Christian De Leon, Amal Pramod & Lauren Royle also with some fine performances in the Kata event. Nico and Ray also made it to the semi finals after their performances but were pipped to a spot in the final by the more experienced competitors Leon & James. A great achievement for both Ray and Nico with this event being one of the toughest categories. Leon performed a superb Nijushiho in the final to beat James to the title.
When all the Kata events had been wrapped up we moved onto the kumite events. With a wide range of events to suit our most junior competitors with the sanbon kumite event (3 step sparring) to the slightly more advanced ippon kumite event all the way to the boys and girls kumite events. Stand out members on the day were Job Christopher Torres from Newbridge & Lucan's Jamie Waters in the sanbon kumite, a very good display from young men. In the mixed Ippon kumite event again we seen some really tough matches Hannah Stewart & Zuzzanna standing out in this one including seasoned competitors Ray Foysal and Ryan Cronin who went onto the final where Ray eventually took home the title.
As we moved onto the more advanced kumite events we saw lots of upcoming stars on the mats. Eva Thunder and Lauren Royle were the stand out competitors in the girls Kumite event after some decisive scoring in the eliminations they eventually met in the final where Lauren pipped Eva for top spot on the podium after some great work! Well done ladies. In the boys kumite event we saw many talented young competitors take to the mats, there were so many strong competitors in this event it really got the excitement going. We saw Donnacadh Murray score with some superb well timed techniques where he completely dominated his opponents, Donnacadh is certainly one to watch for the future. We saw Amine Ghanem also put on some dominant displays in this category winning his matches in decisive fashion scoring with a variety of combinations. We saw young Shay Kelly who is a newcomer to the event take to it like a complete natural also with some fine performances. Shay did so well he eventually got to the semi final where he met Amal Pramod another competitor who had battled it through the rounds. Amal pipped Shay to a place in the final where he eventually faced Amine Ghanem. Amine continued on where he left off in the eliminations and finished the match clinically with a well timed mae geri oi tsuki combination to win by ippon!
To finish up a great day of competition we saw squad members Leon Hoban and Yacine Ghanem compete in an intense battle. Both competitors have been a part of the USKFI international squad for a number of years which in turn had the components to be a great match-up. They both showed great attitude and spirit as the match proceeded with Leon firing the opening shots narrowly missing his target after some great defensive work from Yacine. The match kicked off again and Leon made sure not to miss second time around and scored to bring the match to 1-0. The excitement was building but Yacine kept his composure and stalked his opponent and in decisive fashion scored bringing the score to 1-1. The referee awarded the points and restarted the match. With every pair of eyes in the room on the two competitors watching every little move the two battled on, Leon initiated the attack but with some very clever footwork Yacine avoided the onslaught and counter attacked with his lightening hand speed to win the bout and take the gold medal home. It was a brilliant match between to fantastic competitors.
The USKFI would like to thank all our members who participated in our championships on the day, all the referees, judges and officials and all the parents for their continued support. We would also like to send out a special thank you to all members and parents who helped with the set up for the competition and of course those who stayed behinds afterwards to clean up.