[Photo: New Zealand Team at the WKF Youth Training Camp in Umag]
Team New Zealand comprising of 18 competitors were among 2400 karatekas from 69 other countries who took part in the 10th WKF Youth Training Camp & Karate1 Youth Cup for 2017.
KNZ Coaches were Chris Bennett (Head Coach at this event), Binh Nguyen and Craig Nordstrand. They all took part in the WKF Coach Programme and took the WKF Coach Accreditation exams.
These events were held in Umag, Croatia, for the second year running and attendance numbers broke previous records. New Zealand was even mentioned in the WKF press release for Day 1 of the Training Camp.
The Youth Training Camp was a 3-day event from 27th to 29th June and the feedback on the camp was full of praise. Joshua Martinsen from Hamilton was interviewed on WKF Instagram at the Camp - "What are the Olympic dreams of Karate’s future stars?"
The Karate1 Youth Cup was also a 3-day event from 30th June to 2nd July, during which Sensei Chris was one of the Coaches interviewed on the WKF video - "Karate Values: Young karatekas share special bond with their coaches" - and made daily updates of the team's progress on each day of the tournament:
Day 1 -
Well done to the Karate NZ athletes who competed on the first day of the 10th Karate1 Youth Cup in Umag, Croatia. This event is combined with the WKF Training camp and is very much about improving and developing our athletes so it was great to see them all put what they have learned over the last week onto the mat.
First up was Mia Grgicevich who competed in the Kata Female Under 14 Years. She performed a good Kanku Dai, but stumbled a couple of times which let her opponent from Montenegro take the win. Mia then fought in the Kumite Female Under 14 Years -47Kg division where she beat her first opponent from Israel, and then her second opponent from Bosnia Herzegovina. In the quarter finals against Croatia, she found a local competitor who was just that bit faster and more experienced.
Imogen Ear fought fantastically well in the Kumite Female Under 14 Years +47Kg division, winning 3 rounds against Italy, Croatia and Lithuania before losing to Russia. Italy especially was a high quality fighter and Imogen showed confidence and belief in her Kumite today.
The youngest member of our squad, Kingi Tana, fought in the Kumite Male Under 14 Years -40Kg division. At 33Kg, Kingi was giving a large amount of weight and height to his opponent, and found it difficult to overcome losing to Poland in his first round. However his skill and tactics were great to see, and will stand him in good stead as he continues to grow and match his peers physically.
Our final division today, Kumite Male Under 14 Years +55Kg, had both D'Artagnan Gould, and Josh Carrasco. Both fought well with D'Artagnan winning his first round against Bosnia Herzegovina, but then losing against Slovakia. Josh was unfortunate to lose his first round to Cyprus, however it was great to see both fighters matching their opponents and only losing in both cases by the narrowest of margins.
Fantastic work today by all, and best of luck to those competing tomorrow!
Day 2 -
The star of the show on Day 2 of the World Karate1 Youth Cup for New Zealand was Riley Hall. He got to the third round of the Kata Male Cadet division beating Romania and Cyprus before losing to Argentina. It was a fantastic showing and proof of the hard training he is putting in.
Rileys brother Keegan also took part in the same division, however didn't manage to match his brothers success losing to Serbia in the first round. Keegan had less experience than his opponent, but put everything he had onto the mat which is all that the coaches can ask.
Riley and Keegan were the last to compete on a long day of competition which is still running now, 14 hours after it started. The first to compete was the 3rd member of our team from Dunedin, Cam Russell who did a good Suparinpei, but was always going to struggle against a good player from Italy.
Mid-morning belonged to 3 team members from Hamilton who all fought well, but struggled a little with their distancing and intensity in the beginning of the match. Josh Martinsen did well but lost to a local from Croatia who managed to get a lead early on in the fight which left Josh chasing the game.
Raukawa Jefferies also lost to a local, but it was a good effort given that he has been carrying an injury into this event. The final member from Hamilton to fight was Liam Singer who went into the fight with intensity and belief but couldn't overturn his opponent from the Netherlands.
Next to compete was the Team Captain, Reilly Polaschek, in the Kata Female Under 21. Reilly started with Suparinpei against her opponent from Switzerland, but didn't manage to get through to the second round.
Holly Wigg competed against Sweden in the Kumite Female Junior -59Kg but couldn't manage to get through to the second round. It was a similar story with Lauren Parsons in the Kumite Female Cadet -47Kg. Both fought well but simply struggled to score enough points to take the win.
The final division today with a New Zealand competitor in it was Kumite Female Cadet -54Kg with Jodie Batt. Jodie fought well and put everything she had onto the mat but had a very difficult opponent in Italy. She was unlucky not to score but sometimes the techniques just don't catch the judges eyes.
Best of luck to the remaining players on our final day of competition tomorrow!
Day 3 -
New Zealand had a fantastic end to the World Karate1 Youth Cup for 2017 with Teuarangi Tana fighting for the bronze medal in the Kumite Female U21 +68Kg division. She had performed well in her division earlier on taking out the 14th world ranked competitor from Luxembourg. In her second round she started well getting the first point, Senshu, against her opponent from Italy. Doubly impressive considering she is currently ranked number 1 in the world, however that experience told and the Italian managed to take the win in the end.
The day had begun with Chase Hennessey taking part in the Kumite Male Cadet -52Kg, however it was not to be as he lost a close fought match with his opponent from Guatemala.
Holly Wigg however managed to get through to the second round of her Kata Female Junior division taking out Italy in her first round before losing to Spain. The girl from Spain was a great exponent and got all the way through to the final giving Holly a chance for bronze in repechage. Holly did a fantastic Kosokun Dai, but the girl from Macedonia was simply too good.
We had three players in the Kumite Male Cadet -63Kg, Keegan Hall, Riley Hall and Cameron Sear. Keegan fought well against his opponent from Croatia, but didn't quite have the same speed and power of his opponent. The rest of the team were very impressed with his almost hand stand that he did in the match however. Riley also fought well but just struggled to score against his opponent from Ukraine. And Cameron fought very well, was aggressive and intense, but the judges ultimately decided he was too aggressive and eventually disqualifying him for contact. It was very surprising given that the final technique that was penalised was a chudan mawashi, but it was a good learning experience for him.
The final division was Cameron Russell in the Kumite Male U21 -67Kg. He impressed in his match against Kazakhstan with parents commenting on his skills and athleticsm, however he couldn't match the experience of a European fighter who can compete in these types of tournaments regularly.
All in all, this event has been fantastic event and has given our competitors some much needed experience. They have represented our country proudly and have made some new friends along the way.
Chris Bennett - KNZ Secretary-General
Karate1 Youth Cup - Draw records
Karate1 Youth Cup - Results
Facebook Photo Album -
2017 WKF Youth Camp and World Cup
Sportdata Youtube Videos -
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 6&7 / Day 1
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 1&2 / Day 2
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 3 / Day 2
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 4&5 / Day 2
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 6&7 / Day 2
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 1&2 / Day 3
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 3 / Day 3
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 4&5 / Day 3
Karate 1 WKF Youth Cup 2017 - Tatami 6&7 / Day 3
[Other videos for Day 1 unavailable]
[Photo: From WKF press release - "Record-Breaking WKF Youth Camp Underway In Umag]