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44th European Championships Sofia Bulgaria 14-19 February 2017
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Jonathan Mottram, National Kata Coach
After a long 4 month selection process and 4 months of preparation, the England kata squad departed for Spain to take on the rest of the world in the biggest Junior World Karate Championships to date. The kata squad were happy to see the kumite squad and start interacting with their friends straight away.
The training is Spain went very well with all the squad committing 100% for every minute they trained. The atmosphere with the kata squad was very nice. They were all there for each other and I was there for them, a great team of athletes who respected each other and who are serious about getting the results and trying to win. One thing the stood out, was that the kata squad had fun and was always happy yet when it was time to train they showed how serious they should be and how they have passion and desire to try and succeed and are not there for a holiday, they are there to try and win.
The squad and myself were very lucky to have had the privilege of the EKF President sensei Ticky Donovan OBE and Head Of Delegation Sensei Greg Francis, watch some of the training and show their support and give some of their expert advice to us all, that inspired me as a coach, to work them better and harder and of course inspired the squad with the compliments they received and the sincere support they showed.
The night before the Championships we had a kata squad meeting and the final conversation was that we all try our best, we all help each other, we all support each other and let us show everyone what a great team we are. As an Instructor, coach and competitor I believe that team work, loyalty and respect is a two way street and when we all know we are one big team it can help us progress together.
Aimee Sell the star of the championships. In round one Aimee performed a great Paiku against Japan, and as predicted Japan made it to the final so Aimee was in the repercharge. This was her chance to try and come back and come back she did. As a coach I was confident that Aimee could compete round after round after round, without dropping in form as this is how we prepared in case this scenario happened. Aimee was to face Bosnia, but she didn’t turn up in time and of course Aimee went through, and was to face a rival from Sweden. Aimee performed a very consistent and very stylish Annan to win the match 4-1. Now she was to face Vietnam who have a huge reputation in kata and always have top class competitors. So I new that this round she needed chatanyara kushanku and her opponent was to do the same kata. Aimee performed with confidence, power and absolute control of her technique, Vietnam followed but Aimee’s superior performance gave her the win 4-1. Now this was the moment she had been training for, no time for nerves or worries its time to win. Aimee performed superempai against Czech Republic.
Aimees’s kata was perfect, I was on the coaching chair watching and thinking, wow how lucky am I to be coaching someone so great. So both competitors are on their line the flags go up 4-1 to Aimee Sell WORLD BRONZE MEDALIST. Now I know what that meant to her and it was a result well deserved.
That evening it was the awards ceremony and when England medallist Aimee Sell stepped up onto the podium I was a very, very, proud coach.
Melissa Williamson - Individual Kata
Melissa Williamson competing for the first time individually at a World Champinships. In round one Melissa performed very well with confidence showing she is not phased and ready to take on the World. She performed a great, confident Annan to beat Finland 5-0. Now she was fired up ready for round two to face a girl from China. China have always had good shito-ryu competitors but, not good enough to take on Melissa, who performed a very impressive Paiku showing off her world class shiko dachi’s and winning 5-0. In round three Melissa perform chatanyara kushanku against Russia and just lost 3-2 in a very close match. Russia made it to the final so it was time for repercharge where Melissa faced Italy. Melissa performed a fantastic superempi but unfortunately just missed out and lost 3-2. Another close decision that could have gone either way. Top 8 a great performance for such a committed athlete, a higher position deserved but a very great overall performance. Melissa has improved so much since turning senior and I am very proud of her efforts and continuing outstanding commitment.
Abbie Cook - Individual Kata
Abbie Cook, competing for England for the very first time, and going straight into the biggest Championships of her life. She looked confident in control of her nerves and ready to take on Luxemburg after her first round bye. Abbie performed Nipipo and showed her power and lightening speed and had a very convincing 5-0 win. In the third round Abbie performed Paiku kata, which was very good but unfortunately made a slight wobble at the end of her kata and lost 4-1. Yes Abbie made a slight mistake which at this level you cannot afford to make. Obviously when you loose at the highest level after so much hard work and sacrifice is not easy but she showed her strength by later that day preparing her team kata with her team mates. That’s not easy to do but she did that, and I was very proud to see her pick herself up and drive forward for the rest of her team. That kind of attitude we can’t teach people, it is something you create yourself and Abbie showed her true commitment and dedication at that moment. So she may have lost her round but she did gain something else that shows tremendous spirit.
Numan was another member of the squad that was competing for his country for the first time in the biggest and greatest Championships he has ever took part in. In round one Numan was against Slovakia, Numan performed his kata very strong but the more experienced Slovakian won 5-0. This was a great experience for Numan and I know he learned a lot. He was the only person on the squad who was competing with shotokan so I’m proud he went out and tried his best.
Melissa Williamson, Abbie Cook, Natalie Payne – Team Kata
The girls team kata, competing as a team for the first time as a team. In round one the girls were to face France. England performed a very well timed Annan but unfortunately they went slightly out of line and France took the win 5-0. The French made it to the final, so England was back in with a chance to come back and go for the medal they so deserved. England had to face Chinese Teapei. At the last world championships we lost to this team so payback was on the cards. England performed a very well timed Superempei. Showing their skill on the slow moves and their dynamic speed on the fast moves and took victory 4-1. Now they were going into one of the most exciting events of the championships kata and bunkai. England’s female team performed a very well timed Nipipo kata, and was ready to perform their bunkai, which they performed to the best of their ability. At this point I was sitting on the coaching chair very nervous but very proud. Unfortunately the girls lost 5-0 but made history by getting the highest result for any England team kata at Junior World Championships. I was very pleased with the commitment form all the girls in the team travelling up and down the country in and out of England and sacrificing their time to make the team to be so great. The sacrifice was all worth it when they became the most successful junior kata team for England ever at a World Championships.
Kieron one of the most experienced members of the kata squad and a current European champion and was hoping to have a great championships. In round one Kieron performed Annan against Australia. Kieron showed his confidence in the warm up room and was ready to step out and take on his opponent. Unfortunately Kieron lost 3-2 and had no repercharge.
Navin Patel the only senior male on the kata squad and the most experienced out of all the boys. In the first round against Ukraine, Navin performed a very explosive Unshu showing the skill of speed in some combinations, power in another, this was good enough to beat his opponent 4-1. A very strong, and positive start for Navin. In the second round Navin performed Annan against the Philippines, unfortunately Navin had a slight wobble and when it’s the best against the best this will sadly go against you. Unfortunately Navin lost lost 4-1 and had no repercharge.
Luke Easton, Kieron Nunkoo, Connor Hewitt – Male Team Kata
This is the first time England had a male shito-ryu team and also the first time the boys have competed together. With two of the members, Connor and Luke representing England for the first time. In the first round the boys had Kuwait who was a strong shotokan team. England performed gojushiho-sho and showed very good timing and speed on there turns and looked like they had been a team for years. Unfortunately they lost 3-2 a very close match. The boys had worked very hard together and one thing that made me very proud was they went away as a team and returned as a team. Three boys from three different clubs really showed that when you focus and put your mind to it that you can work with anyone and eventually have success.
The championships had finished and another record breaking success for the ENGLAND KATA SQUAD.
MO, or should I say SUPER MO. Worked so hard with the kata squad no matter when they needed him he was there. He helped them and treated them and also gave them confidence towards the championships. He truly was the reason that some people made it onto the tatami and his expertise is greatly appreciated. The chaperones worked very hard, and were fantastic in caring, looking after and being there for the squad. Thank you to Jessica and Jo.
I am very proud of every squad member, medal or no medal because we did what we wanted to do, be a team and had better overall results than the last world Championships and we know what we need to do for the future to improve as a squad.
I have coached at 3 junior world championships and achieved TWO WORLD BRONZE.
I have coached at 7 consecutive junior European championships and medalled in all 7.
THREE GOLD, THREE SILVER, SEVEN BRONZE.
SEVEN YEARS AS KATA COACH – 15 MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALS.
Thank you to sensei Ticky Donovan OBE and all the EKF board members for your support and allowing me to be the kata coach for England, and letting me be the one to help other peoples dreams come true.
Jonathan Mottram, National Kata Coach
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