Austrian International Junior Open 2010

4 Competitors – 1 Gold, 2 silvers and 2 Bronzes.

On Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th June 2010, four competitors from the Khalsa Squad set off on a very early start to Salzburg in Austria. They were attending the two day event as all four competitors wanted to try and test the talent and standard of our European friends.

This event is held annually in Salzburg and is regarded very highly as a good international to attend this was shown by the number of entries over the two days in all of the categories. Our four squad members attending were Rachel Newey, Jack Newey, Cuba Parris and Bleu Parris.
Jack and Rachel were up first on Day One competing in the kata categories. Jack was in the Under 16's and Rachel was in the Under 18's. Both categories had large numbers and due to this both categories required two pools.

Out of a huge category in two pools, Jack had a bi and was then drawn against the only other entrant from England. Both performed chatanyara and although Jack was back on form including a fantastic jump, it was not his day and he lost 2-3. All was not over though his opponent went on to the final, leaving Jack the prospect of four rounds in the repo-charge. As the other pool had already finished, Jack had to perform his rounds one after the other with no break, which was a great test of his fitness and stamina. He showed true class and swept through with anan (5-0), basai dai (5-0), super enpi (3-2 – a really tough round against an excellent lad from Ukraine we think who we had tipped to win the whole category) and finally unshu (4-1) against a strong Italian to take the bronze.

Rachel was also in a large category divided into two pools and at least 5 rounds. With no compulsories, it is always a gamble choosing which kata to perform. Rachel had a bi then met a Swiss in the second round whom she beat 3-2 with an excellent bassai dai against a much higher kanku-dai .She then found she had another bi as two girls (from Luxembourg and Italy) had not shown. In the fourth round she met one of the Italian national squad Marine Hennon who had evidently got the judges' votes, winning 5-0 every round. Rachel decided to try super enpi rather than match her opponent's anan but again it was a 5-0 score to the Italian. In the repo-charge Rachel performed an excellent anan against another Italian and won 4-1, then went on to win with a very good chatanyara (3-2) to take the bronze and join the Italian dominated podium as they scooped gold, silver and the other bronze.

On Sunday was the turn of all the Under 14's in kata and kumite. Representing Khalsa were twin brothers Cuba and Bleu Parris who had really come just to get some international experience behind them. At 11 years old they too had very large categories in the Under 12's and Bleu was in pool one for the start of the Boys Under 12's Individual Kata. Bleu faced tough opposition from many different nations, including, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and Ukraine.

As the group again had a large volume of competitors, Bleu knew he would have to perform six katas, as to get to the final required six tough rounds. In this age group you were allowed to perform three different katas and then repeat if you so wish as you progress through the rounds. It was also decided that two competitors would be on the mat at the same time to try and get through the category at a quicker pace, so Bleu had a hard task ahead of him. Despite all of this Bleu performed to the best of his ability in every round using three of his favourite katas, Annan, Unshu and Chatynara Kushanku. Bleu showed his sheer class in this category beating all opposition in his pool with scores of 5-0,4-1,5-0,4-1. In the semi final he decided to perform Chatynara again to secure his place in the final and at this stage he had to perform alone on the mat. He executed it perfectly giving him a 5-0 win.

Once the second pool had finished Bleu had to perform in the final but on pool two's mat. Unfortunately for Bleu the referees were different and had not seen any of Bleu's performances in previous rounds. Bleu still gave it his all against a good Ukranian boy with his Godeshio but unfortunately it wasn't enough against the favourite to win his group, despite it being a perfect performance. Bleu lost 4-1 in the final but gained a very well deserved Silver, a fantastic result for your first ever time competing in kata on the international circuit. Congratulations!!
Next up was the kumite and both brothers were in the same category due to it being done on height.It also required the boys to wear face masks and body armour as enforced by Austrian karate regulations and neither Cuba or Bleu had ever worn these before so this posed more of a challenge on them before they even started. Cuba and Bleu were both in the Under 12's plus 145cm and again faced some very good fighters from the different countries who attended.

Both boys had received a bye in the first round allowing them to observe the standard in this particular group. Bleu was up first against a boy from the Ukraine, however Bleu made short work of this fight and won with a clear margin of 11-3. Next up was Cuba who wanted to follow in Bleu's footsteps with a clear lead, against an Austrian opponent this time he achieved his goal with a 5-0 win. Both boys progressed through the next two rounds with a clear lead in points, despite some very tall and very aggressive boys they encountered along the way. Cuba and Bleu fought three tough rounds where they eventually met each other in an all England final. After such an achievement of getting to this stage, Cuba and Bleu knew only one of them could win and after a good fight Cuba became the overall winner with a 4-1 lead on his twin brother. Cuba took an extremely well earned Gold and Bleu picked up his second Silver of the day!! Well done boys, you are both going from strength to strength.

Sensei Sat commented "I couldn't have been prouder of the squad. They showed true grit and quality that proves they are amongst the best in the world. I would just like to thank them and the parents for such a great weekend even though the weather wasn't on our side! Well done GUYS!!!!"

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