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England holds it’s own at 39th European Wado Championships, Italy, 2012


With rumours abounding that Venice was flooded under several feet of water and with more torrential rain forecast to come; it was a damp but energized Wadokai England team that assembled at the Sports Village of Lignano Sabbiadoro in Italy for the 39th FEW European Championships. 32 representatives from 11 clubs and associations were selected to wear the new “three lions” badge and they arrived along with a dedicated coaching team and a bus full of supporters for the event.


With a couple of days to settle in and prepare before the big event the England Contingent spent time socialising and training together. This involved enjoying the local cuisine (which GeTur catering would have you believe consisted almost exclusively of bread rolls and pasta), exploring the local area (closed for the season), training on the luxuriously springy judo mats in the dojo and getting to know one another better in the bar over a coca-cola or two.




Whilst the England Squad was made up of a dozen clubs from around the country a united English spirit began to take hold as the competitors worked together to perfect their kata and Kumite. Words of encouragement and offers of help could be heard throughout the dojo training sessions and our kumite team sat patiently and attentively during the kata practice, applauding and supporting our kata team.


After the training was over, Friday evening was given over to each individual’s personal pre-competition ritual. Some sat together chatting and relaxing, others took themselves to their room to read or listen to music before hitting the hay, still others could be found exploring the empty venue or practicing alone in the dojo.


On the morning of Saturday 3rd November 2012, 32 representatives of England Wadokai filtered into the main arena at GeTur Sports Village for the European Championships. This year the tournament was organised by Mr Maurizio Gai, President of FEW and Wadokai Italiano with the support of a team of international judges, referees, timekeepers and helpers and the schedule planned for junior events in the morning, an opening ceremony and senior events in the afternoon with  the finals in the early evening. This was to be followed by a Samurai Party in the later evening once the medals had been awarded.


The junior and cadet kata events began just after 10am. The venue held 5 full size tatami with raked arena seating on 3 sides, the fourth sporting the coveted 1st, 2nd and 3rd place podiums. It could have been a daunting environment for the younger members of the squad but each individual performed with precision and aplomb and the results speak for themselves. Dominic Basra took the first medal of the tournament and soon our young Karateka aged between 10 and 13 years had secured four silver medals and one bronze in the space of just over an hour, losing out by just one flag in many instances to the eventual champions. Their professionalism set a high bar for the older competitors that were to come.


England’s first Gold medal came courtesy of (amongst other great techniques) a perfectly executed pinan godan jump. Brandon Carr cleared four feet of air to land with a straight back and excellent composure. His subsequent kata were effected equally well to snatch the gold.


We then witnessed an England 1,2,3 as the Hon Yoso Kai trio of Tara Wilson,

Kirstie Emery & Ellie May Sanders battled it out to take Gold, Silver and Bronze in their category and Dylan Wharton and Jon Lefevre followed this up with a Gold and a Silver in the male cadets. Yasmin Bhardwaj kept the pressure on with her own Gold in the female equivalent event.


In the team kata England can only be described as relentless taking a gold medal in every junior and cadet category in which we competed bringing the total medal haul to seventeen by 2pm.


The break for lunch was slightly late and children and adults alike tried to keep the hunger pangs at bay with more bread rolls as we moved into the junior and cadet Kumite section of the tournament.


The rules in Italy don’t allow for any competitive fighting for under fourteens so some of our younger ‘killer kumite’ missed out on an opportunity to compete this year. As such, the afternoon began with the Male 14-15 yr categories. Lewis Muldown and Luke Millington came away with hard-earned bronze medals and Jak Toy Mills outwitted and outpunched his opponents to take the first England Kumite gold medal.


Next up was the adult kata events before the senior Kumite could commence. A seven or eight PM finish was now looking optimistic at best but this did nothing to dampen the spirits of those yet to compete. Those who had finished their events moved from mat to mat or stood in the stands to cheer on their companions along with friends and family. The England supporters were, of course, the loudest and easily out-cheered the host nation.


In the male over 18s individual kata category Keenan Pedley took silver and Aaron Tarleton Hodgeson the bronze. Keenan then joined Ryan Minion and Joe Mulcock in the team event to bag another silver medal.


In the female over 18s event Katrina Wilson was narrowly pipped to the post and took silver whilst her team mate Mairi Kerin won bronze, they were joined by Suze Ralphson in the team event to take a clean sweep of flags in each of their kata and brought home another team gold.  


The final kata event, male veterans, was won decisively Raj Bhardwaj, who, like the the Wilsons and the Harveys is setting up a medal winning family dynasty!


The Martin family also joined this tradition, having seen sister Caitlin take two medals for kata, older sibling Lauren won silver in her individual Kumite event. She would go on to take bronze in the adult female team event, despite not yet being 18!


Jon Lefevre put in a sterling performance to become champion in the lightweight under 18s category whilst in the women’s events bronze and silver medals were awarded to Mairi Kerin and Laura Silver respectively.


The men’s Kumite matches were enthralling and at times bloody (the entire tournament was put on hold for over an hour as paramedics sent one unlucky competitor to the local hospital) with England’s fighters holding their own against some formidable opponents. There was disappointment when some of our seniors missed out on medals but mostly pride in the quality of the kumite and the sportsmanship displayed. Late in the evening, hungry and exhausted the England teams spirits were lifted by our assistant coaches, who, having been on their feet for fourteen hours, supporting and instructing, went out on the mat, fought hard, and brought back the shiny stuff. Keenan (who by this time had competed in 4 events) took bronze in the heavyweight Kumite category and Colin won silver in the Veterans.


Keenan and Colin supported our Coaches Peter May and Lee Minion during the tournament as sadly Kumite coaches Winston Williams and Stennet Harvey were unable to attend. The work that these coaches have put in to the kata and kumite squads, not only in the run up to the tournament but throughout the year can’t be underestimated. It’s a testament to their skill, support and dedication that 32 competitors brought home 35 medals between them, 13 gold, 12 silver and 6 bronze. England came second overall in the medal table, only just missing out on first place to the host nation. The pride that is felt for everyone who represented their country in Italy, whether or not they came back with a medal, is immense.


Next year the competition will be held in Lisbon, jointly hosted by Portugal and England. Any member of an Aiwakai club can attend the monthly squad training sessions and compete for a place on the squad at selections in May 2013.




Full Results Follow…


Individual Kata



Category



Name



Club



Medal



Male 10-11yrs



Dominic Basra



Leicester



SILVER



Arawynd Atwal



Derby






Female 10-11yrs



Melissa Griffiths



Hon Yoso Kai



SILVER



Male 12-13yrs



Connor Harvey



CEWKA



SILVER



Female 12-13yrs



Sophie Hall



Hon Yoso Kai



SILVER



Catlin Martin



Leicester



BRONZE



Male 14-15yrs



Brandon Carr



Derby



GOLD



Taylor Brooks Brown



Derby






Alex Russell



Hon Yoso Kai






Female 14-15yrs



Tara Wilson



Hon Yoso Kai



GOLD



Kirstie Emery



Hon Yoso Kai



SILVER



Ellie May Sanders



Hon Yoso Kai



BRONZE



Male 16-17yrs



Dylan Wharton



Kyu Sei Kan



GOLD



Jon Lefevre



Shizen Do Kai



SILVER



Female 16-17yrs



Yasmin Bhardwaj



Leicester



GOLD



Male +18yrs



Keenan Pedley



Shizen Do Kai



SILVER



Aaron Tarleton Hodgson



Darlington



BRONZE



Ryan Minion



Derby






Female +18yrs



Katrina Wilson



Hon Yoso Kai



SILVER



Mairi Kerin



Sei Wa Kai



BRONZE



Suzanne Ralphson



Leicester






Male Veterans



Raj Bhardwaj



Leicester



GOLD



Team Kata



Category



Name



Club



Medal



Male 12-13yrs



Dominic Basra



Leicester



GOLD



Arawynd Atwal



Derby



Connor Harvey



CEWKA



Female 12-13yrs



Sophie Hall



Hon Yoso Kai



GOLD



Melissa Griffiths



Hon Yoso Kai



Caitlin Martin



Leicester



Male 14-15yrs



Taylor Brooks Brown



Derby



GOLD



Brandon Carr



Derby



Alex Russell



Hon Yoso Kai



Female 14-15yrs



Tara Wilson



Hon Yoso Kai



GOLD



Kirstie Emery



Hon Yoso Kai



Ellie May Sanders



Hon Yoso Kai



Male 16-17yrs



Dylan Wharton



Kyu Sei Kan



GOLD



Jon Lefevre



Shizen Do Kai



Luke Millington



Gorsemoor



Male +18yrs



Keenan Pedley



Shizen Do Kai



SILVER



Ryan Minion



Derby



Joe Mulcock



Hon Yoso Kai



Female +18yrs



Katrina Wilson



Hon Yoso Kai



GOLD



Mairi Kerin



Sei Wa Kai



Suzanne Ralphson



Leicester



GOLD



SILVER



BRONZE


11


9



4



Individual Kumite



Category



Name



Club



Medal



Male 14-15yrs -52kg



Lewis Muldown



Hartlepool



BRONZE



Male 14-15yrs -57kg



Luke Millington



Gorsemoor



BRONZE



Male 14-15yrs -70kg



Jak Toy Mills



Shizen Do Kai



GOLD



Female 16-17yrs +59kg



Lauren Martin



Leicester



SILVER



Male 16-17yrs -61kg



Jon Lefevre



Shizen Do Kai



GOLD



Female +18yrs -61kg



Mairi Kerin



Sei Wa Kai



BRONZE



Female +18yrs +68kg



Laura Silver



Leicester



SILVER



Male +18yrs -75kg



Junaid Mulla



Leicester






Alexander Alexandrou



Leicester






Male +18yrs -67kg



Aaron Tarleton Hodgson



Darlington






Jevaun Bailey



Scorpion






Male +18yrs +84kg



Keenan Pedley



Shizen Do Kai



BRONZE



Veteran Male +84kg



Colin Greenidge



Leicester



SILVER



Team Kumite



Category



Name



Club



Medal



Male 14-15yrs





Lewis Muldown



Hartlepool



BRON ZE



Jak Toy Mills



Shizen Do Kai



Luke Millington



Gorsemoor



Male Team Kumite +18yrs



Keenan Pedley



Shizen Do Kai






Jevaun Baily



Scorpion



Jon Lefevre



Shizen Do Kai



Junaid Mulla



Leicester



Female Team Kumite +18yrs



Mairi Kerin



Sei Wa Kai



BRON ZE





Laura Silver



Leicester



Lauren Martin



Leicester



GOLD



SILVER



BRONZE


2

3


6



WADOKAI ENGLAND GRAND TOTAL



GOLD



SILVER



BRONZE



13


12


10


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