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England Karate Squad

Reports, live coverage, results, images, video and messages of support for all European and World Championships.

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Previous Squad Event
February 7-9th 2014
41st European Junior & Cadet & 6th U21 Karate Championships, Lisbon, Portugal, More information »

41st European Junior & Cadet & 6th U21 Karate Championships, Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal 2014

Portugal 2014 - Live Reports and Results

The below are reports and results posted from Portugal.


European Championships Lisbon -  9/2/14

The final day of competition began with thunderous rain pummelling the stadium ceiling. But even natures worst was no match for the intensity within the stadium as over 40 countries primed their athletes for the last day of competition.
First out were the Male Kata team: Numan Nasim, Dahni Maisuria and Connor Hewitt against Slovakia. This young team performed Empi kata with great maturity and skill but were soundly beaten 5 – 0. Nevertheless great hopes for them in the future.
The girls team of Natalie Payne, Melissa Williamson and Abbie Cook faced the Italians in the first round. Although they executed  Nipaipo well they were soundly beaten by the exceptional Italians who won through to the final. This of course gave the English girls a way back and they were excellent beating the Ukrainians 4 -1 with Annan Kata. Next out for the repercharge final they had the French team. The English girls execution of Paiku and their impressive bunkai got the crowds attention. The French in contrast seemed  nullified by the dynamism of the English performance and were clearly the losers that day. Unfortunately the referees did not agree and the girls lost 4-1. After a debrief  from the National Kata coach it transpired that the absence of a bow at the beginning of the repercharge final sounded the death knell for the English team.
The fighters were out next led by the current European medallist Kate Karwacinski. Kate, matched against a strong French opponent, fought a tight fight but was just beaten 2-1 after a series of even exchanges.
Former World Champion Charlotte Wastell was next out and immediately was chasing her German opponent who out-timed her with perfectly executed counter techniques winning 6-1 and putting out another strong medal contender.
Next out was Connor Rowe-Williams nephew to Natalie Williams and possessing the same fighting spirit and ability. His Belgian opponent however was too sharp and picked Connor off.
Ben Slater suffered a similar fate. Losing to his French opponent 2-0 after coming off second best in a series of exchanges.
Things did not improve with Jacob Kiernan outgunned by an exceptional Turkish fighter 9-1.
Thankfully all was not lost. Kate Karwacinski came back in via the repercharge and showed why she is a World Class athlete. She broke the will of  her Turkish opponent with an exquisite sweep and punch and went on to win the bout 6-1. Her Swedish opponent in the next  round made a valiant attempt to dominate but Kate controlled the tatami and punished her with an exquisite hook kick winning 4-1. Now in the repercharge final Kate was feeling the intensity and pressure but the calming influence of her coach Paul Newby settled her for the Bronze medal fight off. Again Kate’s timing and countering against a hungry Swiss fighter was exquisite and after a few tense moments as the clock ticked down she won a well earned bronze, 2-0.
As the squad Captain Kate led by example throughout pre-training, during down time and most importantly on the tatami. She has the respect of the squad and the EKF staff and is unquestionably one of England’s finest.
So another Championship drew to a close with 3 Bronze medals and England …..on the medal table. For the English athletes, exposure to an environment that they can only learn from and get back to  brighter and better.
In closing I would like to say thanks to our selfless and tireless chaperones Jess Hickman and Claire Maisuria. They looked after the athletes fantastically and are a credit to the governing body.
Congratulations to the National Kumite Coach Willie Thomas his Assistant Paul Newby and the National Kata Coach Jonathan Mottram for reaffirming the fact that English Karate is in a healthy state.
Special thanks to Mo Surdhar our Physio who is mercurial in his curative and preventive abilities. The athletes were in the most experienced hands that English Karate has to offer.
Thanks to Board member John De Bono and his wife Jane whose presence amongst the athletes gave the squad an even greater sense of value.  A massive thank you to Blitz Sport who sponsored the National Teams clothing and kit it is greatly appreciated.
Last but not least thanks to all the families, friends and coaches who took the time, effort  and expense to come out to Lisbon and support the ate England karate Team at the most credible and prestigious European Karate Tournament. The EKF Board recognise your commitment and are greatly appreciative.
Greg Francis – Head of Delegation

Greg Francis

KODAK Digital Still Camera

European Championships Lisbon -  8/2/14

After the performances of Mitchell Thorpe and Fran Hardcastle yesterday the squad were buoyant and inspired as they headed towards the impressive Meo Stadium situated less than 100 meters from the steps of the squad hotel.
Kata athlete Natalie Payne was first out onto the tatami. Natalie performed Chatanyara Kushanku against a Belarussian opponent who showed her class by beating Natalie 4 -1 and storming through to the finals. This allowed Natalie to come back into the repecharge beating  her Ukrainian opponent 3-2 with Annan. The next round saw Natalie perform Supa Empi against a German losing 5 -0.
Next out was Chris Karwacinski against a French athlete and current Championship medallist. Chris was unfazed and executed Unsu with focus and excellent form. Unfortunately his opponent was that little sharper on the day and took the flags 5 – 0.
Aaron Kiernan was the first of the fighters to hit the tatami after an impressive opening ceremony. His tough Macedonian opponent was unable to match Aarons tenacity and was beaten 6 – 3 in a difficult fight. Aarons next match against Hungary had the English fighter firing from the start but after a number of vigorous exchanges Aaron lost out 6-3.
Alex Jones followed with the same conviction. Again his opponent just had that little bit more and  took Alex out 5-0 and continued in this fashion to the final. Alex was now back in via the repecharge but was unable to get the measure of his Bosnian opponent and lost 1 -0.
Leigh Mathieson was another débutante this championship coming out against a French opponent. Leigh showed he had the will and desire to compete at this level but was continually beaten to the punch by a microsecond. Unfortunately at this level that is the difference and he lost out 5-0.
Emily Appleby now into her second championships had clearly gone back and worked on her coaches instructions from the world championships. She came out against her Croatian  opponent and just gave her a lesson in timing, control and technique. She won 7 – 3  and then blasted out her Portuguese opponent 3 -0 in exactly the same accomplished manner. Emily’s Ukrainian  opponent in the next round was a more formidable opponent not allowing Emily to settle and scoring body and head kicks in quick time, amassing 8 points and putting Emily out. However her opponents charge to the final gave  Emily  another chance to progress in the repercharge. Her Bosnian opponent however had other ideas and was quickly  on Emily picking up points and not letting Emily gain any momentum. She was beaten 7 – 1 but gained valuable experience and confidence that will benefit England in the near future.
Our last competitor for the day Joe Kellaway had an Austrian opponent. Unfortunately Joe was unable to take advantage of his superior takedowns and kicks and the Austrian nicked a point  back off Joe and won on flags.
So the day ends with no medals but plenty of self reflection for the athletes and evaluation for the coaches. The final day will see England start afresh with a confident squad and the coaching staff, Willie Thomas, Paul Newby and Jon Mottram preparing the athletes for a final onslaught on the medal table.

Greg Francis – HOD




European Championships Lisbon –  7/2/14
The first day of competition began with the English Team fielding a well prepared Kata contingent. Unfortunately the draws were not kind and our first representative Luke Easton making his debut with Paiku in the individual cadet category lost 4 – 1 to his Czech opponent.
Abbie Cook was next out against an accomplished Spanish adversary. Abbie performed Chatanyara Kushanku and lost 5-o. Given an opportunity in the repêchage Abbie gave it her all  performing Annan but narrowly lost to Turkey, 4-1. It was now left to Aimee Sell our current World Junior Bronze Medallist to compete. Aimee performed Annan to her normal exemplary standard but alas and to collective audible surprise amongst the English contingent lost 3 – 2 to Italy. Her Italian victor was beaten next round and Aimee’s medal hopes ended. The Nationa Kata Coach Jonathan Mottram did not allow his  athletes to dwell on their losses and after given them all constructive feed back rallied the whole squad to focus on supporting their team mates preparing for Kumite.
First out was Mitchell Thorpe against an Irish Opponent. Mitchell worked hard throughout a tight match and eventually got his distance and won 1 – 0. Mitchell then rode the confidence of his first win at an International Championships by beating Slovakia 3 – o with fast and effective head and body punches. His Croatian opponent had no  answer to Mitchell’s beautifully timed counters and attacks and he now found himself in the semi-finals against an Italian opponent. Mitchell initially struggled to match  his opponents intensity but after losing the first 2 points started clawing back. On this day however the Italian was too good and as time went it was 4-2 and Mitchell was out. Nevertheless all was not lost. The success of his Italian foe meant Mitchell had the Bronze Medal match to look forward to and what a performance. Mitchell dominated the match leaving his Turkish opponent chasing shadows while he peppered him with perfectly timed head and body punches. The Turks frustrations got the better of him and as the clock ticked down and with Mitchell leading 5 -1 the Turk penalised again for excessive contact and the English contingent erupted in celebration of Mitchell’s superlative Bronze medal. Fantastic performance.
Next out was Thomas Tutty who came out purposefully and with real desire. After scoring the first point Thomas was on the receiving end of his over zealous Macedonian opponent who managed to get himself disqualified for excessive contact. Thomas moved into the next against his Greek opponent with the same commitment but unfortunately went down 5 -o after a spirited contest.
Emelye O’Brien came out firing, vanquishing her Finnish opponent 4 -1 with a flurry of kicks and punches.  She then had a tough match against a difficult Spanish opponent narrowly losing  2- o even after seemingly scoring with a beautifully executed hook kick.
To complete the day came Francesca (Fran) Hardcastle  who had her work cut out with a very able Slovakian fighter who won 6 – 0. Fortunately for Fran her opponent won through to the Final. Fran dusted herself down and worked through the repêchage with a masterclass of movement, timing and technique against Serbia 4 -2 and a Swedish opponent who she beat on disqualification after dominating the match. Fran showed her determination, tenacity and composure by trouncing her Russian opponent 4 -2 to win England another hard fought Bronze medal. Another magnificent performance and a testament to the experience of the coaches, the commitment of the athlete and the the unwavering support of the team mates, families and friends..
Lets have more of the same tomorrow please.

Greg Francis – HOD



Kata Coach Report Day Four – 6/2/14

Today the ENGLAND squad went to train at the stadium, a great feeling to step into the place where they will be competing. The session was light and relaxed for some, more intense for others but mainly focusing the squad on positive thoughts, and to keep them calm and not get nervous but, to embrace the moment. This is where they will be representing their country so let’s make sure they rise to the occasion and perform the best they can and make the most of this opportunity. They seemed relaxed and calm but obviously a little nervous, but composed and ready. Mo has been fantastic with the squad, showing how great he is and helping and advising all who turn to him. Sensei Greg (Head of Delegation) has been as always an inspiration to the athletes and myself.
At the end of the session all the squad got into a circle and they did the England squad chant, and finished the session with good spirit and smiles.

I wish all the England karate squad and the coaches Sensei Willie Thomas and Sensei Paul Newby the best of luck for these championships. England deserve a good result with the effort that has been put in by all, go and LIVE THE DREAM England!!!!!!

Jonathan Mottram – National Kata Coach


Kumite Coach Report Day Three-  5/2/14

As the competition draws ever closer the athletes become more and more anxious to get going.  Today has been a great days training with the emphasis on technique and tactics.  As head coach I am particularly proud of the conduct of the athletes who have developed a strong bond between one another, bridging the Kata-Kumite to act as one.  Void of individual egos they epitomise the definition of team spirit.
At this stage the sessions are high intensity and low volume to optimise the peaking best performance.  Today was competition day which involved some fiercely contested battles and some good performances.  Everybody is in a positive uplifting mood which can only serve to bring the best out of them.  Three sessions to the good, Well done.

Willie Thomas – National Kumite Coach

Kata Coach Report Day Three-  5/2/14

After two hard days training day three is always tough, the muscles aching, the body and mind are tired but it’s time to push past that feeling and train better than the before. The first session today has been the hardest so far with many repeated rounds but yet again the squad rising to the occasion. It’s normal to feel pressure and nerves this close to the championships with only 2 days to go before Aimee, Abbie and Luke step onto the tatami but they are all coping well and all feel confident. It’s also nice that some of the kumite squad come to watch our training sessions and are supporting the kata squad. Some of the kumite squad brought their course work into the dojo and revised while supporting, now that is impressive. The kata squad is showing their support to the kumite squad also. It’s a great atmosphere when everyone is there for each other and showing that we are one big team ENGLAND.

The second session today went very well, the consistency in everyone and the motivation is starting to show and they really trained with the confidence and belief that they should have at this stage so close to the championships. Chris and Aimee performed all five rounds showing perfection in their techniques. Natalie, Abbie and Luke performed their rounds and they all impressed me very much. The teams worked on their timing and yet again showed great attitude  and performed to their best potential.

It was nice to see everyone at dinner talking and getting along, a great team spirit in and out of the dojo.

Great day kata squad, well done.

Jonathan Mottram – National Kata Coach

Port 8


Kumite Coach Report Day Two – 4/2/14

Day two maintained the intensity of day one. Session one included specific drills to test their focus, reactions and decision making of the athletes.  The going got tough as the drills progressed, testing their character and resolve of which is a necessary component when competing at this level.

Session one finished with a squad presentation by Willie Thomas (National Kumite coach) outlining the squads weekly itinerary, also covering tactical strategies of the game and pre-match preparation.

The second session focused on varying the tempo of the fight with a strong tactical element to each drill.  The squad responded positively and are keeping focused on the goal this weekend end.  The evening ended with our usual team dinner and the squad retiring to complete their training diaries.

Willie Thomas – National Kumite Coach

Kata Coach Report Day Two -  4/2/14

Before the kata squad had their first session today Head Coach Willie Thomas gave a good speech about preparation and pre training to the England karate squad. After this talk the kata squad had their first training session. The two kata teams were very impressive showing true commitment in there training. The male team Connor, Dahni and Numan representing England for the first time as a team and the female team Natalie, Melissa and Abbie who came 5th at the World Championships in Spain, are training to their full potential and showing how good they really are and that hard training IS paying off. The individuals Aimee, Chris and Luke were also on top form with Luke preparing for his first Europeans whilst working two different styles, is working very hard. Chris and Aimee have shown consistent form in both training and competition and this has carried through to today’s training, and they are good senior role models for the kata squad.

Session two, another very hard session where all the kata squad pushed themselves and showed determination and spirit when it gets tough. You need to think strong, to be strong, and they motivated themselves to push more when it gets tough. Natalie and Abbie are doing team and individual so it takes a lot of focus and energy to do both.

We’ll done kata squad for another good days training.

Jonathan Mottram – National Kata Coach

Squad session

Todays squad session Portugal

port9Todays squad session Portugal


Kumite Coach Report Day One – 3/2/14

After an early start the squad was fed, rested and on time for their first session.  After a moderate warm up we went straight in with ‘line-ups’ and although at this stage it had already been a long day spirits and intensity were running high.  There is a great atmosphere on the squad and a great sense of team spirit amongst all the competitors.

Willie Thomas – National Kumite Coach

Kata Coach Report Day One -  3/2/14

After a very, very, early 2:30am start to the day the England karate squad meet at the airport and were happy to see each other and  ready to go Portugal to take part in the biggest European karate championships to date.
A long morning and we get to the hotel and Sensei Willie Thomas appoints  the squad team captain KATE KARWACINSKI,  A well-deserved team captaincy. The team rest as training is as always on the schedule. Normally after a Long days travelling the first session is a little rusty but not this time. The kata squad trained fantastically and started their training with a positive, confident and supportive attitude to each other. A very good first session to open up pre training.

At the end of day one, all the squad both kata and kumite showed professionalism and I look forward to the rest of the trip and hope that everything stays this positive.

Jonathan Mottram – National Kata Coach

General Update -  3/2/14

It was an early morning start on Monday  for the EKF Junior Team, meeting at Heathrow at 4.30am, to travel out to Lisbon, Portugal for the 41st Junior European Karate Championships.  After a short flight the squad arrived safely at their hotel and once rooms had been allocated, the squad had its first training session, this was followed by an evening meal together.  This gives the new members of the squad a chance to get to know each other and find out what its like to be on the squad. There is more training planned for Tuesday and Wednesday with registrations taking place on Thursday.  The EKF have a fairly large delegation in attendance at these championships with 9 kata athletes, 14 Kumite, 3 Coach’s, Physio, Head Of Delegation, 2 Chaperones and 11 referees including our Chief Referee Dale Gamble.  We hope to be able to bring you some photos of the squad training during the week and at competition.  Good Luck to everyone.

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