Official European Seniors Report by Tracey Good (0 comments)
The JKA England Squad proudly sent 13 Seniors and Cadets to compete in the 23rd Annual JKA European Championships held in Nis, Serbia on 7 April 2018.
Abigail Good – final 8, individual kata
Alistair Bevan – final 8, individual kumite
Roisin Akimoto – gold, individual kata; gold, individual kumite; bronze, team kumite
Jana Sersnova – final 8, individual kumite; bronze, team kumite
Rose Tumminello – bronze, team kumite
Bianca Webb – bronze, team kumite
Many of the team are well seasoned with this competition, having competed at this level before – Roisin was back to defend her championship title in both kata and kumite! However this year we had Abigail, Alfie and Endri move up from the junior category and compete at the senior level for the first time. Bianca is also a new addition to the senior squad, after a 10 year break to have 3 children.
The team were led by coaches Sensei Roy Tomlin, MBE and Sensei Ken Hori, who are in their first year of a three year coaching cycle building up to the next World Championships.
Referees included Tony Cronk, Martin Dobson, Lester Wellington and of course JKA England’s Chief Instructor and Head of Technical, Sensei Ohta.
Everyone was up very early for the long trip to Nis, Serbia via Sofia, Bulgaria. Luckily the group undertook the trip with good humour and it provided ample opportunity for the squad, coaches and referees to bond! We celebrated our arrival in Nis, after almost 10 hours of travel and a few mishaps along the way, with a team dinner.
The next day started with a team stretch and a bit of light training that allowed everyone to check the mats on the different areas (a critical thing for both kata and kumite, area 4 was the one to watch out for at this competition – it was very slippery!). In the afternoon the squad rested and mentally prepared while the coaches and referees attended to registration and meetings. Everyone was in bed early!
Competition day arrived and we set off for the arena after a final check of kit! First up were the cadet boys with team kata (Aaron, Alfie and Endri) and while they didn’t make the final it was a good bit of experience.
Up next were the individual kata rounds and we had several squad members make it through to the final 16 and Abigail won rounds against Portugal and Norway to make it through to the final 8. Roisin flew through her eliminating rounds and had the highest score in the semifinals. Her performance of Sochin captured the judges with high scores all around and achieved gold in the individual kata.
Then the individual kumite rounds started and England proved to have some exciting but difficult draws. Alistair won his fights against Serbia and Belgium to make it to the final 8 where he was defeated by the Russian, who eventually won silver. Jana made it to the final 8 winning her fight against Norway but was unfortunately defeated by Sweden just before the semifinals. Roisin won her rounds against Norway, Sweden and Germany to make it to the finals where she had an exciting match against Hungary to win the gold medal.
After lunch the team kumite rounds started and the cadet men’s team (Jordan, Alistair, Alfie and Aaron) had a difficult draw against Serbia, who eventually won bronze, but Jordan won his match and all the boys gained more kumite experience against the very competitive Eastern Europeans. The senior men’s team (Mensah, Mohammed and Joel) defeated Italy in the first round with Mensah winning an ippon against his opponent with a well timed chudan mae geri in the opening seconds of the fight. Unfortunately, in the second round they came up against the Belgians, who eventually won the gold medal. The senior women’s team (Roisin, Jana, Rose and Bianca) had a bye in the first round and then defeated Italy to bring them up against Hungary in the semi-finals. The outcome was a bronze medal for our women.
After a long day of competition the only thing left to do was enjoy ourselves at the Sayonara Party held at a traditional Serbian restaurant. The next day saw a tired group retrace their long route home but the general consensus was that this was a fun trip and an exciting competition. The squad members came back with a positive attitude to be ready for Seniors in Norway next year!
Special thank yous go out to Lisa Cunningham who was on her feet all day helping film all the rounds and Malcolm Hall and William Cunningham who were our cheering section!
Over the weekend, there was not only a competition going on but also a JKA European congress meeting. JKA England’s Association President, Tony Cronk, was voted in a JKA European President and Jeni Cousans was re-elected Secretary. Congratulations to both!
Great result and the focus now turns to the Juniors in May!