Battling Leah responds to adversity with five medals

PART of a Karate Wales team, members of locally-based clubs, especially Vale Karate and Kansei, produced a string of a great results at the Shikon London Open Championships.

As the event was only a week after the victorious KW squad returned from the WUKF European Championships in Verona, a much smaller squad attended, but things started really well when Vale Karate's two-times European champion Chiara Baker again shone, earning extremely high scores in both rounds of the U12 kata to take the gold medal. Daniel Page, of Kansei, did extremely well to make the podium in third place.

Chiara's victory was a taste of things to come for KW in the kata events and, although there were some brilliant English specialists present, the Welsh visitors came close to dominating in this discipline.

Thomas Kerslake (Kansei) visited the rostrum on no fewer than three occasions, winning the male cadet shito-ryu event, being second in the shotokan category and managing a bronze in the male cadet/adult open kata.

The girls were not to be outshone, however, with Charlotte York (Kansei) and Kloe Christoforato (Vale) taking gold and silver respectively after a close tussle in female cadet shotokan. Kathryn Collis (Kansei) took a silver medal in the female cadet shito-ryu section.

The organisation had finalists in both events for veterans, with Andrew Kanias, senior instructor of Kansei, winning the men's, and Heidi Christoforato (Vale), fresh from a fantastic bronze in Verona, adding another bronze. As in Verona, the odds were stacked against Heidi, with the winner being the IKU world veteran champion. Andrew also won a silver in the men's shito-ryu category.

The young KW kata team of Daniel Page, Kathryn Collis and Callum Chattoe (all Kansei) performed extremely well against much older and more experienced teams to win a well deserved bronze medal.

KW had only two boys for the U12 rotation team event, and Jack George, of Vale, and Daniel Page, of Kansei, made the Welsh supporters proud with brave and skilful displays. Not quite enough to progress past the semi-final, the boys took well-earned bronze medals.

Kloe had a tough time in the female cadet kumite against much bigger girls, but has courage by the bucket and, after being beaten by the narrowest of margins by the eventual winner in the semi-final, she fought in the repechage and, although again taking a few knocks, easily won the bronze medal.

The ladies' U21 and senior events were dominated by the strong IKU world medallists from Shikon, with Vale Karate's Amy Davis and Leah Copeland being U55kg fighters and being pitted against much bigger and inevitably stronger opposition as the events were 'open weight.' Amy and Leah both struggled to find their timing in the ladies' event, and went out early, but both responded well in the repechage to win bronze medals.

The ladies' rotation event was more of the same, with the girls going through the mill against very good, very strong opposition. Leah was on the receiving end of some heavy blows to her face against various opponents, which left her with a black eye, bloody nose and bruised mouth. The team spirit from Verona endured, however, and the girls pulled together and took the silver medal.

In a rollercoaster ride, Leah entered five events, the ladies' and U21 kumite events, the shotokan and open kata events and the team kumite event, taking gold in ladies' shotokan kata and silver in ladies' open kata.

With five medals from five events, Leah was awarded the 'Adult Female Competitor of The Day' trophy by organiser Ian Cuthbert. A fitting finale to a very hard day for all concerned.

Results for Karate Wales were:

Kata mixed, U12: 1, Chiara Baker; 3, Daniel Page.

Shotokan kata, cadet men: 2, Thomas Kerslake. Cadet women: 1, Charlotte York; 2, Kloe Christoforato. Senior women: 1, Leah Copeland

Shito ryu kata, cadet men: 1, T Kerslake. Cadet women: 2, Kathryn Collis. Senior men: 2, Andrew Kanias.

Open kata, cadet men/senior: 3, T Kerslake. Cadet women/senior: 2, L Copeland.

Kata, veteran men: 1, A Kanias. Veteran women: 3, Heidi Christoforato. Senior team: 3, Daniel Page, K Collis and Callum Chattoe.

Kumite, boys (under 45kg): 3, Josh Davies. Girls (under 40kg): 2, Megan Chambers. Boys' team (up to 11 years): 3, Jack George and Daniel Page. Cadet men (under 52 kg): 2, Connor Hughes. Cadet men (over 60kg): 3, Cain Francis. Cadet women (over 55kg): 3, K Christoforato. Senior women (open): 3 (joint), L Copeland and Amy Davis. Junior men (U21 open): 3, Dale Jenkins. Junior women (U21 open): 2, Dionne Jones; 3, L Copeland. Senior women's team: 2, A Davis, L Copeland and D Jones.

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