Thursday 10th October
The team arrived at Heathrow, proudly wearing their new tracksuits.
This was a good opportunity for a group photo before we left. It was a close call for Luke, who had only collected his passport that morning.
Bags checked, next security.
Anas kept the squad on their toes with his antics throughout the journey and after an entertaining flight we arrived in Serbia and got the coach to our hotel.
Friday 11th October
The squad took the opportunity to train at the hotel before the competition.
These training sessions were a good opportunity for the squad to bond and although they were light hearted sessions, everyone knew there was an important job to be done.
It was also a good opportunity for some team photos.
While the squad were practicing, Sensei’s Gerry, Eric and Mark attended meetings at the stadium. On their return a short meeting was held to clarify the rules for the competition.
Saturday 12th October
An early breakfast was followed by a short walk to the stadium with our loyal supporters.
And to the competition.
Eager to start…
The first event was individual Kata with the senior males competing first.
Followed by male cadets and male juniors.
And mini cadets.
All performed well, progressing through a few rounds.
Sam and Oliver got through to the final 8
Our veteran competitors won the first medals of the competition for SKCE with Tami winning bronze and Duy winning silver in individual kata.
In the Kohai competition, Margaux came 3rd in her category winning another medal for England.
The next event was team kata. This required frantic dashes between mats, as all competitors involved were competing in more than one category.
The teams all performed well against some strong competition. The Senior men (Anas, Nick and Duy) and Junior mixed team (Sam, Hazel and Rhiannon) just missed out on a medal coming 4th in their categories.
For the Junior girls (Hazel, Rhiannon and Hannah) there was a moment of confusion as it was unclear if they had been awarded Bronze or Gold. Sensei Graham clarified the result. SKCE had its first Gold of the competition.
Before the Kumite started the organisers put on an opening ceremony featuring a local choir and a group of break dancers. The highlight of this ceremony was the kata and bunkai demonstration of Empi by the Serbian team.
Next came the mini-cadet and Kohai Kumite events.
This was the first time these SKCE juniors had competed at world level. Margaux, Oliver and Josh fought well, with Oliver progressing into the second round.
Sunday 13th October
The last day of the competition was devoted to Kumite. SKCE competed in a weight catagorised event, an open event and a five man team event.
As you can see, once again, our seasoned SKCE competitors unleashed their true fighting spirit. With Leon Gordon winning Gold in his category.
The final event of the whole competition was The Masters, in which only one competitor from each country was allowed to compete. SKCE’s Anas was chosen. This event included kata and Kumite.
Our small, but elite squad came away with no less than two bronze, one silver and four gold medals.
Gold– Individual Kumite.
Gold– Junior Girls Team Kata
Silver – Mens Individual Kata
Bronze – Ladies Individual Kata
Bronze – Kohai Individual Kata
This was a great trip in many regards but i was most impressed with the exceptional team spirit it generated. Everyone helped each other from the time we left London Heathrow Terminal 4 to the time we returned.
International events are always expensive but we at SKCE are adamant that the people selected to represent SKC England should be properly looked after, at least as best we can afford. We pay all team costs. We believe that this is the best approach, and judging by the number of medals we have achieved in international competition over the last few years, it has proven very worthwhile.
Overall, the team’s achievement was considerable compared with much larger and government sponsored team entries from Eastern European countries.
I have to commend our top two international referees, Sensei Eric Pich and Sensei Mark Tetsola who again asserted their control on their respected areas and set high standards of refereeing which demonstrated to the other 90 odd referees and judges the standard that is essential if top international events are to be unbiased and well judged.
It was a great venue and a very well organised Championship by our Serbian hosts and a great achievement by our team, ably lead by their coach, Sensei Graham Mercer, who had the added enjoyment in seeing his daughter win Gold as part of the female Kata team.
All in all, a most successful event and one where everyone in our party immersed themselves in the full support of the England team.
The England party were clearly respected by other competitors and we were very proud of how well they conducted themselves.
Very well done everyone.
[/ba-quote] – Gerry Grey, Chairman SKC England