Seven gold medals for Basingstoke fighters at national karate championships

The Shin Gi Tai squad celebrate their medal haul.

The Shin Gi Tai squad celebrate their medal haul.

First published in Sport by , Sports Reporter

BASINGSTOKE’S Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy enjoyed their most successful Karate National Championships ever as they won seven gold medals, 18 silver and 14 bronze.

Every single member of the squad won at least one medal in either individual or team kata and kumite.

The academy’s medal haul saw them finish second overall in the medal table behind the England National Squad Coach’s Association team.

The medal rush started early in the 15 and under events.

The Basingstoke squad dominated the shotokan kata divisions with wins for Edward van Meerkerk and Georgina Butcher, her first-ever national title.

In the same age categories, Harry Cronk and Isabel Bailey did well to battle through the field to come second in the shotokan categories, both losing out to their teammates.

Rebecca Halil gained some great experience and took silver in the open kata division.

Van Meerkerk also entered another two kata categories and took silver in both.

In the adult events, Jess Muller finished second in the shotokan division losing out to a much older and more experience competitor, while Spardha Kumar came third.

The academy had a lock-out in the men’s veterans final, which saw Mark Nevola beat Bryan Andrews to take the gold.

In the ladies’ veterans, Lindsey Andrews was in fine form as she retained her title.

In the team kata events, the under-15 girls’ team of Halil, Bailey and Emma Baldry won gold after some good performances of their new kata.

The ladies’ veterans’ team, comprising Lindsey Andrews, Lynn Aston and Tricia Jordan, came second in the senior mixed team event, losing to a men’s team.

In the fighting cadets category, the youngest member of the team, 10-year-old Zane Sewell, won bronze and took the same colour of the medal in the open kata.

Samantha Butcher lost in the semi-final, but did secure a bronze for her kumite and then she finished fourth in the kata division.

In the adult events, Nevola and Bryan Andrews were both beaten by their current nemesis, world veteran’s champion Rob Ward. Andrews was beaten in the semi-final and Nevola in the final.

Nevola rebounded from this to fight in the open category, Shobu Ippon Kumite. Winning his quarter and semi-finals with ease, he proceeded to the final to face Garrick Eastwood, lightweight world champion.

Eastwood’s pace was just too much for Basingstoke man and he lost by two points and had to settle for silver.

The team events were hard fought and the academy entered three teams in the cadets’ 14-15 category.

The junior boys’ team of Edward van Meerkerk, Cronk and Harry van Meerkerk, with Sewell as a reserve, won a silver medal.

Bailey, Samantha Butcher and Georgina Butcher combined to make up the Cadet A girls’ team and lost in the semi-final to the Southern England School of Karate team and so had to settle for a bronze.

The Cadet B girls 16-17 category team comprising Muller, Emma Baldry and Halil fought their way through to the final before being beaten.

The academy competition squad are now looking forward to world and European championships which take place later this year.

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