Europeans Championship Update
England squad member Harry Theron travelled to Prague last month with the country’s finest to compete, Harry has also recently qualified as a club instructor and a great asset to our club. A really big congratulations to him!
Below is an article he wrote about the experience.
On Saturday 31st March 2012, JKA England’s Senior Squad competed in the JKA European Championships held in Prague where we were all very keen to put all our hard work and effort to the test on the international arena.
We arrived at Brno Airport on Thursday where we took a coach in a two hour journey driving on the wrong side of the road to the country’s capital where we were staying and where the tournament was held. After checking in to the Clarion Congress Hotel Prague, we made our way to a small nearby Italian restaurant for a much longed for dinner.
On Friday morning we beat the sunrise to some light training and stretches in a courtyard we found outside the hotel possibly waking some rather confused residents gazing though their room windows. After demolishing the breakfast buffet we made our way to a dojo in a series of taxis where England head coach, Sensei Gary, lead the usual vigorous training session. We then split into smaller groups and focused on final preparations for our individual and team events ready for the big day!
The day of the competition! We were up before sunrise again for some light stretches and going through our katas before getting breakfast and walking to the arena. Arriving at the arena you could sense the England presence carried forward from the World Championships. We were off to a shaky start with male cadet kata but things started to turn around with Roisin Campbell making the finals for female cadet kata.
This momentum lead to some great performances including a well deserved third round by Clyde Moroney in senior kata on his debut for England. Senior kumite was started off with Dave Paulus enduring a six minute match to victory followed by some outstanding performances from Jovan Masalunga and Chris Walsh in senior male kumite both reaching the third round. George Draganov had to withdraw after suffering a blow to the eye significantly impairing his vision but still showed great spirit and dedication by still wanting to proceed to the next round for the benefit of the team despite the health risks.
For the Opening Ceremony, England was lead by team captain, Laura Steadman, followed by the tournament finals. Roisin set the bar very high by reaching the final of both individual kumite and kata. England’s newly formed cadet male kata team consisting of Jason Fox, Jonathan Spencer and Harry Theron earned their place in the final after beating the home team subsequent to a draw during the eliminations and with the help of new England coach, Jodie Pidcock, went on to earning a respectable fourth place overall; narrowly missing out on third by only 0.2 points subsequent to yet another draw! England’s cadet female kata team consisting of Roisin Campbell, Jana Sersnova and Rachel O’Halloran had less fortune after a judge pointed out a controversial technical point on their kata Kanku-Sho placing them fourth overall. However the world number two ladies kumite team bounced back fast and ended the day on a high by beating the Czech Republic 6 Wazaris (half points) to 0 on home turf and on national television in the cadet female team kumite final.
With good reason to celebrate and after a long day, we enjoyed ourselves at the after-party where it gave us an unique opportunity to see and bond with our fellow teammates outside the dojo, not wearing a gi and without violent intentions, unless of course they keep hitting you on the head with spoons…yes metal spoons! We set out early the Sunday morning back to Brno Airport only to meet RyanAir’s strict 10kg baggage rule yet again. Nevertheless, we arrived at London-Stansted with lots of silverware after another successful tournament!
By Harry Theron