BASINGSTOKE’S Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy returned with a fistful of medals from the Kyoji Kai tournament in London’s Docklands.
This is one of a series of national ranking events for competitors looking to be selected to become part of the England National Karate squad, which is drawn from many different karate styles and associations.
The academy team – which returned with five gold, three silver and nine bronze medals – encompassed a range of ages and experience levels and was made up of Bryan Andrews (46), Lindsey Andrews (39), Mark Nevola (50), Emily Nicholls (35), Jess Muller (16), Harry Cronk (13), Harry van Meerkerk (10), Emma Baldry (15), Rebecca Halil (14), Isabel Bailey (14), Edward van Meerkerk (14), Georgina Butcher (13), Samantha Butcher (11) and Josh Nicholls (9).
The event started with individual and team kata before moving on to the individual kumite and team events.
Kata is a choreographed sequence of movements where attacking and defensive movements are practised in sequence, while Kumite is fighting against an opponent.
Lindsey Andrews once again topped the medal table for the veteran female categories in one of the largest entries of the day.
She convincingly won through to the final and was taken to a draw for first place before stepping up her game and performing a very strong rendition of her favourite kata to win.
The junior kata team of Jess Muller, Harry Cronk and Edward van Meerkerk dominated the cadets team kata, never looking in real danger of not taking the gold.
Another gold medallist was Bryan Andrews in the individual men’s veterans kata.
The final included his teammate Mark Nevola, who won a bronze medal in this category.
After two rounds in the final, the scores were level for first place.
A third kata was called for and this time the tie-break went to Andrews.
A number of other competitors deserve a mention for their multiple medal hauls.
Nevola got a silver medal in the finals of the men’s veterans kumite. He and Andrews were both beaten by the current world veterans champion.
In the men’s senior event, Nevola came up against another world champion, and his speed proved too much in the semi-finals, so Nevola had to settle for a bronze medal.
Rebecca Halil won a bronze medal in the adults senior kata, an event she entered for some extra practice.
She also won a bronze medal in the girls’ team cadet with her teammates Emma Baldry and Jess Muller.
Jess Muller had the best day of all the members of the club with a medal haul of one gold medal in the team kata, a silver in the adult senior kata and cadets individual fighting, plus a team bronze for fighting.
She had some tough matches in the individuals but picked up some good wins with a variety of kicking and striking techniques.
Entering her first competition at national level was Emily Nicholls.
She was just eligible to enter the ladies’ veterans and had a great debut as a purple belt fighting experienced black belts.
Nicholls had an uphill task but won through to take the bronze and the future looks good for her.
Isabel Bailey had a successful day, winning a bronze medal in the female cadets open category.
She has built up some good experience during 2013 and is now regularly winning medals at national level.