USKFI 17th Shotokan Cup
The USKFI continued with what was to be a hectic schedule in October and straight off the back of a successful referee and judges’ course & exam the previous day, the USKFI were looking forward to one of the most prestigious events of the year; the USKFI Shotokan Cup. This particular competition which is now in its 17th year was held in the Phibblestown dojo in early October. We had close to two hundred USKFI members travel from the length and breadth of Ireland to participate what was anticipated to be another superb championships.
As the venue started to fill the atmosphere was starting to increase and with first event scheduled to kick-off at 9:30 the competitors were lined up and eager to get going. The junior events kick started the day and although a very hard task for some they stepped out onto the mats with confidence and maturity for such tender ages. Some fine performances were displayed from our kyu grade katas right through to our more advanced sections for the brown and black belts. It certainly was refreshing to see such a high standard from these events with the future certainly looking bright for some of the competitors. With USKFI squad coaches Sensei Sherlock and Sensei Royle on the lookout for potential candidates for the USKFI international squad some of these guys are definitely showing that potential and can expect an International call up.
Our busiest event unfolded in the junior black belt kata which seen many high standard performances. After many tough battles throughout the eliminations it was Phibblestown’s Ray Foysal, Navan’s Joshua Smith, Leon Hoban and Newbridge’s Anna-Louise Lumingkit who took to the stage for the semi-finals. A close score between all saw Leon and Anna-Louise progress to the finals while Ray claimed 3rd place and Joshua settling for 4th. Anna-Lousie had to settle for silver as an impressive performance of Kata Gojushiho Sho saw Leon claim the title. Leon continues to go from strength to strength and his evolution as a Karateka is impressive to watch. An all-rounder with a high standard in both Kata and Kumite it’s only a matter of time before Leon medals on the World stage. Although Leon claimed the title these four competitors display an excellent level and are certainly an inspiration for our youngsters that are coming up through the ranks.
Simultaneously the senior event took place where our senior male competitors battled it out for the top spots with competitors performing a range of katas. It was brothers Adam and James Hughes who dominated the eliminations to reach the final. James pipped his brother by a small margin of points after his performance of Gojushiho Sho. Following on from this event we saw a new event introduced; USKFI Veterans Kata where we witnessed Newbridge SKC’s Simon Kennedy clench the gold.
With all the kata events complete it was time to look forward to the kumite events. We began with the Children’s Sanbon and Ippon kumite. Impressing judges with their attitudes yet again, the juniors showcased their skills with some star performances from Aaron Smyth and Jason Curran to name but a few in the Boy’s Ippon Kumite, Aaron going on to claim the title in the final. It was clear to see that these performances were matched by the Girl’s Ippon Kumite event with Saoirse Waterhouse and Amy Stynes battling it out in a close final where Saoirse just pipped Amy to the Gold.
Next we were onto the boy’s and girl’s freestyle Kumite events. In the boy’s 10-11yrs event we witnessed Corduff’s fledgling Conor Meagher dominate his event. After a tough match in the semi-finals with Lucan’s Ben Lynch he managed to make it into the finals. He then met Ryan Cronin from Greystones and after a tough fight managed to take the title. Onto the 12-15 yrs events Zanshin SKC’s Reece McCloskey and brother Dylan were in flying form progressing to the finals with ippons each in their respective events. Dylan took on Navan’s Leon Hoban in a nail-biting fight in the final. In a close turn of events it was Dylan who took the gold.
Onto the Girl’s 12-15yrs kumite event, the excitement did not stop. Kingscourt SKC’s Eva Thunder stormed through her event claiming an ippon in the semi-finals and taking on Hannah Rodden where she clinically took the title for Shotokan Cup champion. Phibblestown’s Aisha Ali Khan and Navan’s Zuzzanna Kolodozejska battled it out in the finals with Zuzzanna narrowly missing out as Aisha took home the silverware for this event.
The final event took place with brothers James and Adam Hughes yet again battling through the finals. It was James who finished the fight 2-1 after an extremely exciting close match. With James dominating both his events he then went on to being crowned the Overall competitor on the day for his win title grabbing performances in both Kata and Kumite.
That brought a close to what was another superb event for the USKFI; our final home competition of 2018.