Serbia - Junior Europeans

Report by Martyn King

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In May the team from JKA-England managed a very impressive medal haul in the European championships held in Serbia. 

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I was lucky enough to be invited to go with the team as one of our country’s referees. We flew from Stansted to Sofia, and then took a three hour coach journey to Nis in Serbia.  A slow border crossing meant the team arrived at the hotel very late. 2am - a very strange time to sit down to a protein packed meal! 

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The following day was a Friday and we took the opportunity to do some sightseeing before the referee briefing in the evening. 

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It’s at meetings like this that the hours of study and revision needed to pass the JKA-England referee qualifications pays dividends. 

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The tournament started the following morning. If any of the team were nervous, they didn’t show it. The tournament was decided over six areas (tatami). Being a referee meant that I was unable to watch the progress of our team, only seeing the ones that competed in my area. Those that I did see put up a very good performance, and they could all be proud of their achievements.

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The venue Itself was a cauldron of emotion. At one point acting as a corner judge, the centre ref was shouting the commands to the competitors just 4 meters from me, and I couldn’t hear a word he said over the massive noise made by the audience.

The Medal Haul

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Viktor Lam - 2nd Kata

William Cunningham - 3rd Kata

William Cunningham - 1st Kumite

Viktor Lam - 3rd Kumite

Tosan Awani - 2nd Kata

Victoria Walsh - 1st Kumite

Endri Krasniqi - 3rd Kumite

Also, 4th Place in Kata for Abigail, Alfie & Endri.

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Girls Team Kumite 3rd

Boys Team Kumite 2nd

I was selected to be one of the judges for the finals that ran into the evening. But, I’m sure our competitors who won medals didn’t feel at all tired!

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The following day was team events. Again the atmosphere in the venue was outstanding. Our teams did very well both the Boys and Girls getting medals against quality opposition. 

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All in all a great performance from our squad that bodes well for the future of Karate in England. A very well organised trip by the JKA-England team and the coaches, and a privilege to be invited to represent us as a referee.

Above - sightseeing in Nis

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Left the team of judges I worked with from Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, Russia and Hungary

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Bottom Row

Sensei Ohta in action, the Girls Team and the squad at the airport