2 GOLD and 2 BRONZE MEDALS for Gidea Park and Hornchurch Ishinryu students at the most recent competition attended by the Hornchurch based karate club. Coaches for the day were Sensei Kate Sensei Steve Karwacinski- Senior instructors at Gidea Park and Hornchurch Ishinryu.

The day started with the pairs Kata category. This is a very difficult discipline as it involves not only performing to your best individually but to stay in time with your fellow competitor for every move throughout the kata. Our two students Olowasegun Olofinjana and Jack Fennessy were our dynamic duo who performed excellently just missing out with a score against them of 2 flags to 1 to make it into the next round.

The next performances saw these two boys up once again in their individual kata categories alongside Daniel Galpin, this being his first ever competition. Daniel performed a very accomplished and aggressive kyu grade kata to win 3-0 and sail into the next round. He unfortunately bowed out in the second round but gave an extremely heartfelt performance for his first competition.  OlowaSegun and Jack also performed two very good katas but unfortunately came up again slightly older and more experienced competitors this time.

The next performance was from Ava Rouse, another first-time competitor who gave an extremely strong and mature performance just losing her second round in a 2-1 decision to a very experienced competitor performing a much higher ranked kata. Ava, however, still managed to pick up a BRONZE medal and showed she is definitely an athlete to watch for the future.

The last Kata performances of the day saw our 14 and 15 year-olds Olowakemi Olofinjana and Ciaran Buckley take to the tatami. Showing their growing experience and reaping the rewards of their hard training and commitment both athletes really dominated this category. Both won through 3 rounds to reach the semi-finals, where we started to think it might be an Ishinryu face off in the final. However, this was not to be as Kemi bowed out after a very close match losing 2-1 in her semi-final. A very well deserved BRONZE medal achieved by Kemi, such improvement in both her karate and confidence was definitely shown in her consistently impressive performances given. Ciaran showing true heart won through to the final, and in a nail biting match against a very good competitor was given the win in a 2-1 split decision, claiming the GOLD medal. A truly impressive performance from Ciaran.

Onto the fighting categories we saw Olowasegun head to the tatami first. In a very close match Olowasegun was just unable to gain enough points to beat his opponent, although showing some very promising moments during his fight. Jack was up next and in a very big category failed this time to hit the ground running, but again showing some moments of true potential in his round only losing the match 6-5.

Ryan Buckley was up next, in the 12-13 year old category. Being drawn up against some very tall competitors, Ryan battled through to win his first round scoring some excellent points during which his technical ability shone though. Unfortunately, although scoring the first point and gaining senchu, Ryan could not hold onto the lead in the second round just losing the fight in a very close match.

Kemi was up next, again in a category filled with a lot of experienced fighters. Kemi was unable to win through her opening match although giving a heartfelt and gusty performance.

Ciaran Buckley was our last fighter of the day. In a truly mature and impressive performance Ciaran won though to the finals beating his three opponents with some beautifully timed and executed techniques. He was then in his second final of the day, and unfortunately due to his opponent securing an injury early in the match was unable to fight to the end of his final but after a long day was able to claim his second GOLD of the day. Ciaran is a true testament of what rewards hard work can bring with patience, persistence and perseverance so well done Ciaran!

A successful day all round for our junior Ishinryu competitors. Whether returning with a medal or not – the hard work, commitment and passion of these young athletes shone through. Your senseis and association are very proud of you all!

 Kate Karwacinski