Karate stars make waves in international competition in Canada

Karate stars from South Tyneside have given opponents the chop '“ after travelling almost 4,500 miles to impress in an international competition.

Monday, 1st January 2018, 8:00 am
From left to right, competitors Mark Purcell, Aiden McTavy, Amy Stephenson, Emma Stephenson, Owen Suggitt and Tracy Suggitt.

A team of six competitors from South Tyneside Yamaguchi Goju Kai Karate Academy, based at Perth Green Community Association, Jarrow, took part in the Karate-do Goju-kai Global Championship, held in Vancouver, Canada.

Between them, they came back with three medals after going toe-to-toe with opponents from across the world.

Mark Purcell, in the centre of the back row, with the club members who took part in the Nissan Open.

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Coach Mark Purcell, who led the team to Canada and also took part in the competition himself, has told of his pride at their efforts.

He said: “We were so proud of the team.

“Even the ones who didn’t win medals only just missed out.

“Everyone was a winner, because getting onto the mat in a competition like that takes a lot of confidence.

Mark Purcell, in the centre of the back row, with the club members who took part in the Nissan Open.

“I’ve always said that even if you don’t win all the time, there’s no losing.

“You’re always winning or learning.”

Emma Stephenson won a gold medal in the kata event, while team-mate Aiden McTavy won a silver in the kumite, and Tracy Suggitt took a bronze medal in the kumite.

Mark, Amy Stephenson and Owen Suggitt just missed out on medals.

Coaches Christopher Lively and Nicola Ford also travelled to Canada to lend their help.

Before the trip, coaches and competitors took part in a number of fundraising events, raising over £5,000 to help fund the journey.

It proved to be worth the effort.

Mark added: “We’d like to thank everyone who helped to raise funds for the club with events including sponsored bag packs at supermarkets.

“Perth Green Community Centre gave us a generous donation, and Franks Portlock sponsored us.

“It was a great achievement for us to have so many competitors at such a big event.

“It was a competition of a very high standard, and they conducted themselves really well.

“I was so proud to take them over there.”

Nine club members also recently competed in the Nissan Open, and came away with five medals between them.

Amy Stephenson won gold in the kata, and Aiden McTavy was victorious in the kumite.

There were silver medals in the kumite event for Grace Boyes, Josh Reay and Graeme Thornton.

Owen Suggitt, Kane Hansen, Emma Stephenson and Erin McKenzie just missed out on medals.