KUGB Nationals 2017
This weekend the USKFI International squad traveled to the Birmingham to take part in the 51st KUGB National Championships. The championships which is the most prestigious home competition on the KUGB calendar sees karateka coming from the length and breadth of Britain & Ireland to participate in this spectacular event.
We had a small but mighty squad representing the USKFI at the championships and they held a very good account of themselves. First up were the younger boys hitting the mats for their kumite events. Shay Kelly put on a strong display in the 10-11yrs boy's kumite winning his first match decisively. In his second match Shay took a small knock and was at a bit of a disadvantage. He was brave and carried on but unfortunately it was in vain as his opponent managed to nick the score and progress to next round. Next up was Ray Foysal; Ray dominated his opponent scoring with a superb gyaku tsuki to bring the match to 1-0. With the match in its dying seconds Ray's opponent managed to get a score back to bring the match to 1-1 which in turn ended up with minute extension. With the match restarted both boys had one thing in mind and it was to win the match. Unfortunately Ray's opponent was that split second faster and was a awarded the winning point. Ray's opponent would eventually go on to win the tournament.
Next to take to the mats were the 12-15 boys. Donnachadh Murray was first up and it was his best international performances to date. He dominated his opponents with his precise Tsuki combinations winning his matches decisively. Donnachadh made it to the quarter finals where he would eventually be narrowly beaten by his opponent. Donnachadh continues to go from strength to strength and it was clearly evident with his fantastic performances at the weekend. Amine was next to take to the floor and at the tender age of just 12 in the 12-15yrs category it's always going to be a tough event. The main aim here is to gain as much experience as possible and Amine gathered some invaluable experience at the weekend. Although no wins this time around for Amine he held a good account of himself and will bring the experienced gained into future competition. Yacine was next up where he faced off former European champion Jamie Allan. Yacine also narrowly beaten in this event after going down a point from a sharp gyaku tsuki from his opponent and although Yacine tried relentlessly to corner his opponent to get the point back time was against him and eventually lost the fight by a wazari.
The only female member of squad to travel was Sophie Farrell; as always Sophie represented the USKFI ladies with an excellent standard. She had some tough battles in a packed out event for the girl's 12-15 yrs. After going through a couple of rounds Sophie met the young lady who would eventually go on to win the event. Sophie put up a very brave fight but was narrowly beaten by her opponent.
Next to take to the mats for the 16-20yrs Kumite event was Sean. After a super run in the Kata event where he narrowly missed out on a place in the finals to former World & European champion Hisham Saif. Sean started off in the kumite in flying form winning his match by ippon with a jodan mawashi geri. Next round he met a regular to the podium the KUGB's Ryan Spencer. These two competitors have met many times before on the tatami. Ryan took the advantage by scoring first with a chudan mawashi geri. Sean battled hard to get the point back which he did with a superb jodan gyaku tsuki to bring the score level. With nothing but a win in both competitors’ minds they battled on but unfortunately Sean was out timed by Ryan who eventually took the winning point.
Although it was looking like no medals would be returning home to Ireland this time around we still had Leon to compete. Leon has gone from strength to strength and within a week of stealing the show at the recent USKFI National Championships Leon took up where he left off a week prior. Leon stormed through the eliminations of the kata event beating some very strong opposition along the way to cement his place in the Kata final. In the final Leon performed a superb Gojushiho Sho where he claimed a silver medal after narrowly being beaten by .2 of a point. For the kumite event Leon was on fire; his commitment going forward is something to be both admired and feared which was the case with his many opponents on the day. He went through each competitor in the eliminations with precision and finesse to secure a well-deserved spot in the final. In the final he met Solihull Karate Academy's Niall Galligan; a much bigger and stronger lad than Leon but this did not phase Leon in the slightest. It was a nail-biting, spin tingling battle between two excellent competitors in the finals where Leon's speed and accuracy would eventually assist him in securing the title of National Champion. A well-deserved win after such a brave performance in the final.
That wrapped up another busy international tournament for the USKFI. Although not all our members came home with medals they did come away with something even more valuable.....the experience of competing in a tournament of this magnitude. We look forward to our members bringing this experience to their next tournament which will be the National Youth championships coming up in July.
The USKFI is a self-sufficient organisation who fully fund all international trips for our squad members. This includes flights, accommodation, meals, hotels etc. If it wasn't for the support of our dedicated members and instructors these trips for our squad members would not be possible so we would like to take the opportunity to thank all our members, parents and loyal supporters.
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