Over five hundred top karate athletes from across Europe recently competed in the IKU Children and Junior European Karate Championships. The three day event took place in the London Docklands and was non-stop action from the Friday morning until the senior finals on the Sunday afternoon.
The Mizukara Karate clubs which are based in Ards and Bangor were delighted to have nine members selected for the Northern Ireland squad. The squad not only competed with the best in Europe but returned home with a bag full of medals.
The top performer was Craig Brashaw from Newtownards who returned with two Cadet age 16-17 European silver medals, the first for individual kata and the second for his thrilling individual kumite (sparring) final against an Italian opponent. Craig’s local sponsors, The Independent Group of Companies, from Bangor, In-Sport, Newtownards and Ards Borough Council were delighted with Craig’s achievement. Coach Kevin Lewis added. “Craig was so close to double European Champion. At this level of competition the margins are very fine. This is a stunning achievement.”
Craig’s teammate Dean Miller was also excellent. Having just missed out on the world champion selections last year he more then made up for it this year claiming European silver in his individual kumite and bronze in his individual kata. Jordan Lewis from the Carnalea Club then proved he has come on leaps and bounds in the last year by fighting his way to his individual kumite final and claiming another silver for the squad. Also in the silver medal mix was newcomer to European competition Karl Andreasson from Bangor. Karl claimed a fantastic silver in his individual kata and was joined in the medal collection by Scrabo Karate Club member Ben McIlroy who lifted bronze in his first ever European individual kumite event. Bangor world medallists Rachael Fleming and Levi Kane both made their respective individual kata finals but were placed fourth just outside the medals. The final member of the squad Jacq Watton joined the team at the championships but unfortunately did not compete this time due to an injury just prior to the championships.
Coach Lewis added “Every member of our selected squad was excellent. These, like all the European and World Championships we compete in are really tough. To collect seven medals from eight competing athletes is superb. It is the best European medal collect our clubs have ever achieved at one single event. The support we got from parents, friends and families for this event was fantastic and the medals very well deserved. These students are an inspiration to many.”
The Mizukara clubs been very busy recently and just opened a new club in Ards Leisure Centre from 4.15pm-5pm for 3-5year olds (with a parent) and junior club following it from 5-5.45pm for age 6 upwards.
Mizukara Karate Clubs (Carnalea, at the Methodist Centre; Scrabo, at Ards LC; Castle, at Bangor Castle LC; Rathmore PS, Victoria PS) are supporters of ‘inclusive play’, ‘fairness’ and ‘playing the long game’.
If you wish to find out more about karate for fun, confidence or for sport, Duke of Edinburgh etc. contact David on 07760 337578 or visit www.facebook.com/mizukara (No long-term contracts – Beginners of all ages welcome – Try it for free and see!)