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Gidea Park and Hornchurch Ishinryu took a small selected squad to the English National Championships this weekend (13-14 July), held at Ponds Forge International Sport Centre. Coaches for the weekend were Sensei Steve Karwacinski and Sensei Chris Karwacinski.

First up, and the only competitor from Ishinryu competing on the Saturday, was Ryan Buckley, competing in the male Individual Kumite 12-13 years +45kg category, hoping to build on a good performance given at the British Championships last month. Ryan gave a very exciting performance, showing great improvement even from his last competition. He was unable to come out on top after a very tight match, having a few decisions not quite going his way along with some contact warnings being given against him. A lot more to come from this young athlete, watch this space! A very good performance at his first National Championships.

Sunday consisted of all the 14 years+ categories. Ciaran Buckley and Kemi Olofinjana were up first in their male and female Individual Kata categories, 14-15 years. Both again gave very solid performances, showing consistent improvement from the last competition but were unable, this time, to progress past the first round. Ciaran came back with a passionate performance in the repo charge, having lost to the eventual Gold medallist of his category, but was unable to progress further into a medal match.  

Kemi was then back on the tatami in her individual and open weight kumite categories. Showing a marked improvement in her confidence and self-belief, Kemi progressed through the first round winning a hard battle against good opposition. Kemi then lost to the eventual Gold medallist and was unable to progress through the repo charge rounds to reach a medal match.

Kemi was not finished yet however and gave another much improved performance in her open weight category losing a very close match in her opening round. Overall a fantastic experience for Kemi across both her kata and kumite categories and a great set of performances for her first English National championships.

Ciaran Buckley was up next in his individual and open weight kumite categories again hoping to build on some good performances given at the British Championships last month. Ciaran had a very intense match with the eventual Gold medallist in his 1st round, finding it just too difficult to chase the win after going down earlier in the fight. Ciaran did not let this affect him however and came back in the repo charge and bronze medal match with great confidence and belief in himself and his coach. Ciaran scored some brilliant techniques, listening very well to all tactics given to him by Sensei Steve and was able to secure the win and a very well-earned BRONZE medal at his first English National Championships. A great achievement and a testament to this young man’s commitment to his training.

Ciaran, on the back of this medal, then gave a very mature performance in his open weight category winning his first round but unable, in this category, to progress into the later rounds.

Overall a very successful day for this young athlete, claiming his first medal at such a big championship. Congratulations Ciaran!

The final competitor, representing Ishinryu, saw Sensei Kate competing in both her individual female kumite category -68 kg and Open Weight category. Sensei Kate progressed through to the finals which were held later in the day for her individual category and then turned to competing in the Senior Female Open Weight. This category had many members from the English National Team, under 21 and Senior. Kate won through 4 rounds to progress to the final, where she won the GOLD medal and first English National Title of the day for Ishinryu.

Sensei Kate was then part of the ‘spotlight’ finals held at the end of the day- winning her final 8-0, with one minute still left on the clock, and her Second English National Title of the day.

Special mention was also made, by the Performance Directors for the EKF, of the achievement of Sensei Kate along with her team-mates regarding their Gold medals achieved at the Commonwealth Championships, in South Africa, at the end of last year.

Overall a very impressive few days of performances for such a small squad representing Ishinryu. All athletes did themselves, their club and association proud! A special thanks to the coaches Sensei Steve and Sensei Chris for their time and effort throughout the weekend, giving the athletes great encouragement, guidance and support at the most important English Competition of the year. Congratulations to all athletes on such superb performances and results!