Final Australian Medal Tally:
Kristina MAH – Gold (55-61kg female kumite)
Tommy HALLAM (QLD) – Bronze (70-75kg male kumite)
Megan EDWARDS (WA) – Bronze (+59kg 16-17years female kumite)

What a packed 7 days we had! After landing on Tuesday morning at 7AM after a over 24 hours of travelling… we went straight to the hotel to meet the rest of the team for training at 10AM! The team trained in a small dojo about 15 minutes away from our hotel. Everyone was in high spirits from the get go and this team spirit was built upon as the week progressed.

There were quite a few of us from the Aussie contingent including the President of the Australian Karate Federation, Sensei Michael Kassis, the coaches: Shihan Barounis, Marco Mezzanti from Melbourne, and Stephen Kelly from Brisbane; referees: Jeanette Lynch from Perth, Con Papanikolaou, and Peter Szalsy, also from Perth, and the team manager, Hani Zahra. As well as this, there were our appointed cheer quad of parents and family and of course the team. So a sizeable group who were all looking good, fresh and ready for the competition on the weekend.

The team met twice a day for training and stretching sessions and also for dinner. All this ‘bonding’ time definitely brought everyone closer together as everyone got to know others who they hadn’t previously talked to much at competitions. It was really nice to have everyone together so often and I’m sure the team would agree that this played a big part in building our morale for the weekend ahead.

The competition took place over 2 days, with all the kata events on Saturday as well as some of the Cadets and senior team Kumite events. The kata team were quite successful with John Georgas narrowly missing out on the bronze medal in the Cadet Boys kata, and Rhys Scott, Maki Kamada, Renee Caruso and Sarah Cayed all easily getting through their first rounds.

Unfortunately, none of our teams made it through to medal rounds. Both men’s teams losing in the first round, and the women’s team defeated in the 2nd round.

On Sunday, the rest of the team competed in their individual events.

Shaneel CHAND:
Shaneel fought Denmark first. He managed to come back with a sensational mawashi-geri to the head to equalise at 4-4 with him, although lost several points from penalties in the last 30 seconds and was not able to make another come back as the time ticked down. The final score was 4-7.

Kristina MAH: Kristina fought Germany first, easily getting through this round, 5-0. She then fought Denmark, and came out with another win, 4-0. The semi finals was against the Colombian, Lina Marcela Gomez, this was a tough fight, and Kristina pulled off a win of 6-2 to save her a spot for the finals later that day. In the finals, she fought the Croatian, and held out to take out the division with a 3-1 victory.

Matt TICKLE: Matt drew 2 all in his first fight against the Chilean in the Men’s Team event. Unfortunately though, his team lost their round on a count back. In his individual event, he had a BYE in his first round. He went into the second round eager for a fight, and easily defeated the Danish competitor 4 – 0 . In the 3rd round, Matt fought Hungary. The fight was close and even after the extended time, the score remained locked at 0-0. He lost by a flag decision.

The trip was incredibly fun and everyone had an amazing time with great memories to take away from it, as was predicted. With the Junior World Championships on the horizon, there wasn’t much time for celebration (even though the team managed to get through the night with some celebration ;)). After a hearty team dinner at our favourite restaurant in Copenhagen, Wagamama, some kicked on in the lobby of the hotel singing songs, and some even performed kata on the city streets, everything met with a lot of laughter and all in all a great note to end the week on.

It was a great trip, even though in some parts quite exhausting, new friendships were formed and old ones reinforced not only with the outstanding unity of the Aussie Team, but also on the international stage, as even the coaches and referees mentioned, the comments from other teams’ coaches and refs about our team spirit throughout the competition.

So now… it’s all eyes on Morocco…