WKF World Youth Cup Games 2012

Thursday 5th July saw our very own Sophie Santillo and Sensei Sat fly out to Greece to represent the club and England in the 2012 World Youth Cup Games held in Greece.

Both Sophie and Sat set off in the early hours of Thursday morning, boarded and flew to Greece arriving in Corfu at 11am. Weather was extremely hot 38 degrees and soaring.

After checking into the hotel, Sophie checked and weighed in without any issues followed by a relaxing break by the pool, swim then lunch.

Sophie was due to fight Saturday at 9.45am, but by the evening the schedule changed to Friday afternoon, and although we were prepared to fight Saturday morning, Friday did seem the better option, giving us 2 full days for sight seeing and sunbathing!!!

The hotel, people and other team members were brilliant and so friendly!!!

The day of the competition arrived and both Sophie and myself were very nervous as Sophie has fought and won or medaled in many European comps of late, but we came here to find out how we fair against our Asian competitors, in specific Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Jordon and Israel. Generally the eastern contingents do very well at the major championships and it was this experience that we were entered for. As the day got hotter the comp was unbearable for competitors as there was no air conditioning in the hall.

Sophie's category was finally called up. There were 4 competitors in Sophie's category which saw them all take a bye and all 4 sent to the Semi's. The first fight was Egypt v Azerbaijan, Both fighters were really aggressive and very talented. The Egypt fighter had awesome legs and the Azerbaijan competitor had very fast hands. Egypt took the lead within seconds, scoring with a Sanbon, followed by 2 fats gyaks's. Her opponent attacked very aggressively but couldn't get past her legs, and lost another head kick putting Eygpt through to the final 8-0 in under minute 30 seconds.

Next up was Sophie, England v Israel.

Before the start of the match both Sophie and myself talked tactics and we knew what we needed to do to beat our opponent. Israel looked menacing and came of the blocks very fast as anticipated but our tatics worked spot on and we scored the first 2 points with our hands, exactly as planned. We knew our opponent had great hands so we had to break her mentally. Our tatics were to bring the legs into play as quick as we could after our 2 point lead to give us a good advantage but our opponent knew our strengths and closed Sophies kicks down very quickly. Tatics changed and we reverted back to hands but changed height of attacks to chudan (middle) as she wasn't aware she lost early points to the head. Now with a 4-0 lead our opponent was getting very frustrated and pushed and fell on Sophie, who in turn fell on a judge. As the time slowly dropped Sophie picked her opponent off again and we took the win sending us to the final.

The finals were staged later in the evening and although we were roasting, we did what we came for which was to reach the semi's, but we changed the goal posts to make the final, to which we did!

Both Sophie and myself knew what our opponent had, and this time we were going to match her legs for legs, but we knew our hands were better. If we scored with the hands and kept her legs away we could take the title.So with this game plan we were ready.

The final arrived and Sophie and our opponent fired in fast gyaks to the body, but with 1 flag each, neither took the point. Sophie then began the attack and got caught by a front hand to the face and was losing 0-1. With over a minute gone we were still trailing 0-1 and we were not that worried. I have to admit our opponent had amazing legs, and at one stage through 7/8 kicks of the same leg whilst changing direction, and eventually caught sophie with a hook kick!! something Sophie normallys hits others with!! 4-0 down, Sophie went back with hands in the hope we would score a point to cut the deficit. We knew once you get a sanbon, your opponent normally reacts with the identical technique, and Sophie knew we couldnt do that and just wanted to nick the odd point back first then the big kick. Again both girls throwing a gyak, and Sophie scored one flag only, but as she turned her head she got caught with punch to the back of head and lost 2 more points and the fight 0-6, settling for silver.

Sensei Sat commented " This weekend we had a clear game point and objective and that was to mix it with our Asian competitors, and we did that very well. We didn't reach the title we hoped for but to get to the final was the main objective. We could so easily have lost the first fight if our tactics weren't correct and it was clear all 4 competitors were fired up!! Truth be told the final was closer than the score seemed but we were beaten by the better fighter, a girl who had amazing kicks!!! Sophie has learnt alot from this weekend and has also realised that we are getting closer and closer to our main objective which is the Europeans and Worlds, and every competition brings a different experience to which we are learning and understanding better!! I am very very proud of what Sophie has achieved this year to date and it is an absolute pleasure to see her rising to every challenge, win or loose. My thanks goes out to everyone at the club who have helped me to be able to coach Sophie and MCE for sponsoring Sophie!! Without them we could not have done what we have done!! This result is for them, club and families who all play a huge role in Sophies and the Clubs success!!! Sensei Sat.

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