Ipswich fighters come out on top
YOUNG karate fighters from the Ipswich area dominated the recent English Championships at Crystal Palace.All members of the English Korean Karate Association squad, they collected six gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
By Mel Henderson
YOUNG karate fighters from the Ipswich area dominated the recent English Championships at Crystal Palace.
All members of the English Korean Karate Association squad, they collected six gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
A total of 28 boys and girls, aged between ten and 16, took part in the only national competition organised by Sport England and which was attended by England coach Ticky Donavan Snr.
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It was the culmination of six weeks' training at EKKA sessions headed by Lenny Austin, Sixth Dan head coach of the Association, and they pitted their strength and skill against the best 500 fighters from all over the country.
Current Ipswich-based internationals Davin Pack, Milo Hodge, Leonie Kersey, Liam Brennan and Joe Mongan – all previous English champions – were there to give the youngsters their support.
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The EKKA had fighters in nine of the 16 finals and the gold medal winners were Ritchie McMillan (Holbrook High School), Ed Mongan (Northgate), Gavin Williams (Kesgrave), Saskia Jordan (Westbourne), Reisha Hull (Holywells) and Stephanie England (Gusford Primary).
Silver medals were won by Sam Sutherland (Manningtree), Joe Fury (Sir Charles Lucas) and Adele Lloyd (Westbourne), while Tom Canham (Kesgrave), Zoe Land (Chantry) and Kerry Coote (East Bergholt) scooped bronze.
The winners received official English Karate Governing Body cups and medals, as well £250 grants from Sport England.
Lenny Austin said: "It was a fantastic day for everyone involved in karate from the Suffolk area. The success is due to so many committed individuals – not just the fighters, but also their parents and supporters.
"I would also like to thank Metaltec for continuing to supply the squad tracksuits."
Austin was joined at Crystal Palace by EKKA president Mick Blackwell and EKGB chairman Billy Brennan, also a world referee.
Nino Severino, of the Ipswich-based Sports Performance Academy, said: "Mick, Billy and Lenny were all very successful competition fighters and it is great to see that their knowledge is being passed down in such an effective manner.
"Their commitment to the sport will surely secure Suffolk's reputation on the world stage of karate.
"It was a privilege to see the youngsters in action and I truly believe I was watching European and world champions of the future."