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England Karate Squad

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Report Day 7 - Competition Day 4

The World Championships is now into the Finals stage. Ability gets you selected, preparation and composure gets you to the finals. Jordan Thomas ticked all three boxes. Hopes were high when he stepped onto the tatami to face the Brazillian in the Bronze Medal fight off.

The match began with Jordan scoring a technically perfect timed left gyaku zuki after a protest from his dad and national coach, Willie Thomas was upheld. The Brazillian picked up the pace and got hit by another quality gyaku zuki. The next point turned out to be the decisive one. The Brazillian was awarded the point in a punching exchange and just capitalised with a front leg mawashi geri earning 3 points and taking him into the lead. Jordan chased and got picked off with two more points. As the clock ticked down so did English hopes and at the buzzer it was 6-2 for Brazil and Jordan's World Medal dreams dashed. However it is refreshing to see England at Senior Level competing for medals again and a testament to Willie and his coaching staff.

That said, championship finals like all sports are a mixed bag. Some matches very cagey and consequently lacking in action and risk and others a bar room brawl with Karate techniques thrown in for good measure. Those types of fights are the crowd pleasers and not surprisingly led by the Japanese whose karat eka in the finals, could fight, did fight and invariably won with minimal clinching and good committed karate techniques.

The introduction of the disabled category to the World Championships is wonderfully refreshing. It shows the versatility of karate and how it genuinely appeals to all. The Blind and Visually impaired finals in particular were incredibly emotional. The quality of the kata performed by the athletes culminated in a standing ovation from the crowd. This is our Art at it's best: perseverance, passion, belief, discipline and confidence.

On reflection the World Championships have been organised well. 5 tatamis instead of four would have assisted in the event overrunning on the first two days and seating the athletes in the rafters compromised the atmosphere on those days. However, the close proximity, that is 15 minutes walking distance, of the stadium to the hotels, airport, shops, restaurants and training areas is a template for the future. No hassle with transport, coaches can manage their athletes arrival at the stadium and Heads of Delegation can have a bit of a lie in.....I wish! Also Friday and today saw a stadium filled in the evening with rapturous Germans cheering every move a German athlete made. Great atmosphere......Apart from having to suffer at ear splitting levels the singular German contribution to popular music "the Final Countdown" by Berlin, 100 times a day.

One more day of finals for the England squad to watch, absorb and learn!

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