Karate practitioners in Sunderland are celebrating after kicking their way to championship success.
Students from the Sendai Kushiro club in the city bagged a hat full of medals at a national championships.
After nearly 18 months since the last karate competition, the Karate Union of Great Britain held its British Championships at Nottingham University.
Hopefuls from around the UK travelled to Nottingham to compete in this prestigious event, which has been running since 1966 – including a squad from Sendai Kurshiro.
During lockdown and the return to regular training members of the club have shown amazing perseverance and determination to get ready for this championship with many of them training up to seven days a week.
The hard work certainly paid off for them with many gaining gold, silver or bronze medals.
The finals of the girls kumite (sparring), the girls kata (set form) and children’s ippon kumite (set sparring) was extremely special, as they were contested by Sendai Kushiro members.
Rojin Rafie, 13 and Kayla Davison, 15, competed against each other in the girls kumite, with Kayla winning after a close contest.
Then the girls Kata final of Grace Snowdon, Ava Coulthard, Megan Fox and Rojin Rafie all making the final after some extremely tough elimination rounds.
Despite breaking her toe in the warm up, Grace took gold, Ava silver, and bronze went to Megan and Rojin.
Azhin Rafie took another gold medal for the club after a very convincing display in the girls kumite 10-11 years category (Azhin’s sister Rojin had previously won this event) and in the same event Sofia Zarifi took bronze.
The all Sendai Kushiro final took place in the ippon kumite with Kitti Shillaw and Dawud Zarifi, both competing at this level for the very first time. Dawud took the gold and Kitti, silver, after an excellent performance.
The final gold medal came in the Adult Team Kata, an event that Sendai Kushiro has had a lot of success in over the last seven years, winning five times.
Sam Light, Bethaney Miller and Ethan Brown performed excellently to win against some very tough opponents from across the UK.
Further success came in the children’s team kata with Grace, Ava and Rojin taking silver and Megan Fox, Hania Bowery and Azhin Rafie taking bronze. Jonny Luke just missed out on first place in the boys kumite ending the day with another silver for the club, while Bethaney Miller and Sam Light took bronze in the Senior Female and Male kata events respectively.
Rebecca Adie, having just moved up to the female kumite 16-20 year old category took bronze. The final bronze medal came in the junior ippon kumite with Harshita Mahamuni.
Club coaches John and Holly Bruce said: “We are very proud of each and every one of our competitors; they continue to develop and are a credit to our club, especially to see what they have all come through during the pandemic.
“Their performances on the day were excellent and deserve all of the success that comes their way. It is through lots of hard work and dedication that they continue to develop to such a high standard.”
Anyone who would like to take up the exciting martial art should contact Sendai Kushiro. The club trains at CitySpace, University of Sunderland, The Raich Carter Sports Centre, Easington Village and the Freemans Quay, Durham. Contact them on email@example.com or www.sendaiskc.co.uk.