South Tyneside karate kids fight off competition to see success at European Championships
Young people from the Yamaguchi Goju Kai martial arts school in South Tyneside have returned triumphant from the IKGA European Championships in Hungary.
Squad members, who meet at the Perth Green community centre in Jarrow, fought off a high standard of competition to come away with a total of five bronze medals from the prestigious competition, which took place on July 13.
Seven young people, aged 8-16, competed in the event, winning three bronze medals in the Kata and two in the Kumité categories.
“They’ve been absolutely brilliant, I couldn’t be prouder of them all, whether they got a medal or not,” said instructor Mark Purcell.“It was quite a high standard and they were over the moon that they did so well.”
There was double cause for celebration for one student, 16-year-old Grace Boyes, from South Shields, who passed her senior black belt grade, under the European grading panel.
Grace has been training with Mark since she was five-years-old, at St Gregory’s School, in South Shields, and has made huge progress with the club.
“I decided to let her grade at the championships, under the European grading panel and she did incredible,” said Mark.
“You have got to be of a very high level to grade and pass at the camp, because you are grading under the master instructors who have never seen you before. She was outstanding.”
Following the championships, eleven members of the squad then took part in a five-day training camp, with the association’s Grand Master from Japan.
“Even on the camp, just the way they conducted themselves was amazing,” he added. “They loved it - even the parents who came really enjoyed it.
“I’d like to thank my assistant coaches for their help and all the parents who helped fundraise for the trip and Perth Green who gave us a contribution.”
Now the squad is busy training and raising funds for the World Championships, due to take place in Japan in 2012, and Mark is feeling confident.
He added: “We have done really well in European and World Championships in the past. No matter what the competition we always come away with something.”