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England Karate Squad

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Report Day 8 - Final day

So we are now at the last day of the World Karate Championships and as the England Team take the short walk from the hotel to the stadium some use it as a time for quiet reflection.

Today we are spectators. The squad, intent on soaking up as much karate as possible at the highest level, arrive in enough time for the first final at 10.00am. The arena, now reduced to one elevated tatami, is set up to exhibit some fantastic karate. This it delivers.

The individual and Team, Semi and Final matches featured amongst the usual suspects, the new powerhouses of Karate; Iran, Turkey and Egypt. These Middle eastern countries also had a refreshingly strong presence in the kata finals.

Team bunkai allows the kata coaches to show both their understanding, interpretation and application of the kata. Visually pleasing does not necessary mean good karate and that was clear in some of the kata decisions made. However there was some incredibly inventive but still practical bunkai demonstrated and this was no more evident than with the Female Team kata particularly Vietnam, Italy and Japan. The kata, individual and team, leaves the stadium breathless.

Biggest upset of the tournament was unquestionably the Japanese Female Kata Team losing to Germany in the final due to two pronounced stumbles in the bunkai.

The men's team kumite final between Iran and Germany was an excellent demonstration of WKF Karate at its best: sweeps, takedowns, body and head kicks, front and reverse punches and a five man fight. It was a spectacle culminating in the host country taking the honours.

All in all a fitting end to the World Championships.

Special mention to Jordan Thomas for his excellent performance and maintaining consistency at Elite level. There is a lot more to come from this young man.

Thanks to Debbie Sell for her organisation of the trip,Ticky Donovan, President Mick Billman and Mark Simmonds for their support and advice, the referees for their guidance and representation at the highest level, Dr Mohindar Surdar for his selfless commitment to the squad, all the England supporters who came to cheer us on, the coaches Willie Thomas, Davin Pack, Paul "Neo" Newby and Ady Gray for their unwavering belief in the squad and most importantly to the athletes for representing England with bulldog pride, conviction and honour.

Tomorrow we head back to Blighty to rest and then get ready for the next set of international tournaments next year.

Danke Schoen

Greg Francis
Head of Delegation

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