Santarem, Portugal

The beautiful little town of Santarem was yet again the host of a major karate event, just a short ride from the great city of Lisbon.

Thanks to the hard work of Mr Carlos Diaz and his colleagues in the Portugese Federation the scene was set for a great championships. Perfect venue, live video streaming on to the internet, great hotels and even fantastic weather was provided

UKA members were yet again at the centre of Karate England's senior squad success at the IKU European championships. Senior Instructor and asst England Coach Ian Cuthbert was delighted with the UKA members performances. he said:

"I have coached my fighters over the last 25 years at WKF, WUKF and now in the IKU and we have won medals at all of these formats and world bodies but this current crop of fighters is the best I have ever had to work with. In view of the way our Shikon squad dominated the old EKGB Nationals for so many years that's really saying something. I really could nt have been more proud of our athletes. Our preparation was good involving a lot of early SAQ and endurance work. The use of the SAQ aero mat was invaluable during the 10 week preparation. In the last few weeks our focus on speed and reaction was the final icing on the cake. Having coached successfully in all the major World bodies I believe our squad could compete against anyone."

The IKU children and cadets World games scheduled on the Friday was very busy with over 500 entries from all over Europe. The host country of Portugal had a very strong squad and eventually topped the medals table in the World Games event.

In the European championships for Seniors and veterans the action started with teams on the Friday evening with individual events on Saturday and finals on Sunday. England and Italy were soon the two countries leading the medals table with Italy dominating the kata but England battling through in the kumite sections.

With 18 countries taking part the competition was going to be fierce.

Portugal, England, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Wales, France, Rep of Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Norway, Spain and Georgia.

There were some excellent performances in the kata sections with fine examples of kata from all of the main styles but the strong Italian squad dominated taking 9 golds. England, Portugal, Russia and Romania battled it out with them and our own Lindsey and Bryan Andrews from Basingstoke both took golds in their respective veterans Kata events.and brother and sister duo Hollie and Mitchell Roberts from Oxford took silver medals in the female and male senior shito ryu respectively.

Our veteran ladies team of Lindsay Andrews, Trisha Jordan and Lynne Aston won a creditable silver in the team kata with a well synchronised display of Annan.

In the kumite events Sensei Dan Cuthbert continued his success from Brazil last year by winning the U80k defeating his Italian opponent in style and not to be outdone current IKU world and European Junior Champion and British Universities champion Charlie Collins took gold in the men's senior O80k with a devastating display of accurate and sometimes painful (to his opponent) counter punching.

Mike Cormack from UKA Potters Bar took a bronze in the male senior U65k. Jason Marquis from Ware UKA took silver in the male sen O80k

Mitchell Roberts from Oxford took a bronze in the male sen u60k along with his kata medal and he also took two golds in the male senior Ippon team events.

The England ladies team of Maddie Moore, Shauna Carroll and Caroline McGrath won both the SANBON kumite and the SANBON rotation events against old foes from Italy. Shauna from UKA Woodford also took silver in the ladies O60K, team mate Claire Maden from Oxford taking one of the bronzes.

In the male senior SANBON rotation Dan Cuthbert, Charlie Collins and Mike Cormack faced Portugal in the final and with a noisy home crowd narrowly squeezed past them to take gold.

The last final of the day was the male senior five man SANBON event the three England seniors joined forces with Jason Marquis and Luke Cuthbert. They had defeated the Romanian team in the semi final and faced a skillful Portugese team in the final. Portugal had already defeated a strong Italian team in the semi final and with a home crowd baying for victory England suddenly became the underdogs.

First fighter Jason Marquis won his match but Luke Cuthbert narrowly lost the second bout. Charlie Collins slipped up against his lighter opponent leaving Portugal 2-1 up. Mike Cormack came out fourth and showed his speed and courage winning his match and drawing the tie.

Last out for England was Dan Cuthbert and Portugals hero Neno Palva. With the audience behind him the Portugese fighter pulled out all the stops and took the bout much to the delight of the crowd. England had to settle for silver.

An exciting and spectacular finale for the weekend which was much appreciated by all the Karateka present.

One of the big surprises of the weekend was the number of competitors of various countries from our friends in the WKF. Good to see that more national bodies across Europe are ignoring the ridiculous 21.9 statute that seems to offend so many people.

We now look forward to meeting all our good friends once again in Maribor, Slovenia in November for the I.K.U. Under 21 World, Championships. It promises to be yet again another stunning event.

Anyone interested in joining UKA can contact Sensei Ian on 07802 481187.