The USKFI wrapped up its series of National competitions for 2017 with the USKFI Shotokan Cup. The tournament which is in its 16th year was held in the Phibblestown Karate Club and sees competitors come from far afield to compete for the top spot of the podium. We continue to see a steady increase in participants and the clear development in standard within the USKFI, not just from the competitors but from the whole team involved with running these events. The constant striving for perfection within our referees technical committee is having a knock on effect with the junior judges and referees as we see continuous improvements as each tournament passes.
The competition kicked off with the Junior Kata events. probably two of the busiest events of the day; KA1 Kyu grade Kata had over 70 competitors alone while KA3 junior brown & black belt Kata was not too far behind with over 60 competitors. We saw so many fantastic displays in these events with many potential future champions progressing through the ranks. In the Kyu grade Kata event stand out competitors of the day were Blacklion SKC's Amy Stynes and following in the footsteps of her sister Anna Louise was Sofia Lumingkit; two very promising young ladies. Also in this event were Anna Cox and Lucy Kennedy; the two young ladies would eventually go on to take each other on in the final where Lucy Kennedy won her second title in this particular event.
In the Children's Brown & Black belt Kata event saw some fantastic performances with Navan's Joshua Smith showing massive growth in his Kata bagging himself a bronze medal in what was a very tough event. In the final we once again had a repeat of previous finals where Phibblestown's Ray Foysal took on Navan's Leon Hoban. two superb performances from both lads but Leon's extra bit of finesse helped him secure the title.
In the adult Kata we saw Andrew Mills take on Corduff's Leeanne Royle; two tremendous karateka who put on a fine display of Kata for the on-looking audience. Leeanne went on to take home the title after an impressive performance of Bassai Dai. In the teen's kata event we saw Finn O Connor continue with his impressive form and take the title against Blacklion's Lucas Garcia. In the over 30yrs Kata event Adam Donohue took on Newbridge's Simon Kennedy and after a solid performance if Kata Bassai Dai Adam took the title.
(Conor Meagher in action in the Ippon Kumite event)
With all the Kata events completed we moved onto the Kumite events beginning with the Children's Sanbon and Ippon Kumite. In the Girl's Kumite we saw Sophia Lumingkit add a gold medal to her bronze she won earlier in Kata as she took home the title of Sanbon Kumite Champion. The boy's Sanbon Kumite saw Adamstown's Rajesh Sheryas take on Patrick Dindic; a superb performance from the two young gentlemen where Rajesh would go on to claim the top spot on the podium. In the ippon kumite event we continue to see the growth of a little star in the making Saiorse Waterhouse and with her dominant display took the title against Kate Gaffney. In the boy's Ippon we witnessed Joseph Doey of Zanshin NI take on Monasterevin's Noah Smyth and after a close match up Joseph came away with the gold.
With the junior kumite events over it was time for the Jyu Kumite (Freestyle). Once again we saw some very impressive performances with lots of potential champions making their breakthroughs. In the 10-11yrs girl's Kumite Caoimhe Gallagher Byrne battled it out against Aisha Ali khan; a very exciting match between two tremendous competitors. Caoimhe went on to take the title after her sharp gyaku tsukis were just a bit too much for Aisha to handle.
In the boy's 10-11yrs kumite we saw Nadir Ghanem continue with his remarkable displays dominating his opponents in the elimination matches to secure his place in the final. In the finals he met fellow team mate Leo Sugg; Leo who is relatively new to competition had a tremendous day on the mats also dominating his opponents in his elimination matches. After a tough match Nadir would eventually would go on to take the title with his commanding display.
(Saoirse Waterhouse on way to take Ippon Kumite title)
In the boy's 12-15yrs kumite we saw the McCloskey brothers take the title in both the under 5'3 and over 5'3 categories. Two fine competitors who are certainly a force to be reckoned with. In the girl's 12-15 under 5'3 we saw Rachel McEneany take on Hannah Rodden, a close battle between the two young ladies with Hannah's additional experience seeing her through to the end to take the title. In the 12-15yrs over 5'3 we witnessed Lisa Meagher take the title in a very stylish fashion. Lisa completely dominated her opponents in the elimination rounds with her sharp gyaku tsukis. Lisa went on to meet Tori Maher in the final; Tori a regular to the podium certainly gave Lisa a tough match but Lisa scored decisively to take the title. Lisa is certainly evolving into the competitor we expected when she first took to the mats not so long ago.
In the junior male Kumite we saw a repeat of the previous National's finals with Sean O Connor taking on Yacine Ghanem. A great match up between two of the USKFI's leading male competitors. It was a close battle between the two which eventually would see Sean take the title after beating Yacine by a single wazari. Sean continued with his impressive style into the Senior Male Kumite against Zanshin's Andrew Mills; once again a very close edgy bout between two top competitors. Unfortunately Sean didn't manage to add gold to his impressive haul of medals for the day and had to settle for silver as Andrew's attacks were just that bit quicker but none the less another impressive display from Sean continuing on from his fine performances in the recent World Championships. We look forward to seeing Sean continue with his impressive displays at the European Championships coming up next month.
That concluded another successful day of competition for the USKFI. We would like to thank all the competitors, parent's, officials and referees and judges for making the day another excellent event for the USKFI.