Karate Club Wins Team Award After Impressive Performance

MEMBERS of a Hereford karate club walked away with more than a dozen gold medals fighting against some of the best in the country.

The Combat Academy karate and kickboxing team celebrated a major success in Coventry at the English Contact Karate Association (ECKA) Jubilee Cup Championships.

The Foley Trading Estate club fielded a squad of 19 fighters, made up of a mix of seasoned fighters and a few members who competed outside of the club for the first time.

They walked away with an impressive 14 gold, 13 silver and eight bronze medals.

Eight-year-old Sophie Small was competing in the under 5-foot girls and fought well with a good variety of techniques to win an impressive triple gold.

Club coach Chelle Banes made a return to the competition mat only to help boost the team’s points total for a chance to win the ECKA Cup.

It paid off not only in placing, but in taking first place and first place in the senior adult Freeform section.

Continuing the winning streak, Theo Price put in some great performances during the competition.

Fighter in boys -4’8 semi-contact purple-black belt and light continuous splits winning right and winning double gold.

Another double gold medal went to Robbie Hearn, who competed in both the rookie men’s – continuous and point light purple belt.

Girls Grace Lucas and Daisy McGowan ended up meeting and sharing two finals together in the Girls -4’8 Advanced Semi Contact and Continuous Light.

McGowan won the semi-contact and Lucas won the lightweight continuous.

Shawn Au-Yeung won gold in the Veteran Openweight Continuing Lightweight division with the added bonus of sharing a one-two-three podium with teammates Neil Richards in second and Andy Bailey in third.

Another great medal haul saw 17-year-old assistant coach Alex Douglas take gold in the cadet lightweight continuous event and silver in the cadet semi-contact event.

The trophy collection grew even bigger when he moved up to senior adult semi-contact and earned himself another second-place trophy.

Older brother William got his first prize of the day in the children’s advanced free form.

After a tie for first place, he unfortunately had to perform again by the tightest of margins, being pushed to 2nd place, also earning a bronze medal in semi-contact.

The father of the two boys, Neil, had some great fights and scored some good points to win the semi-contact silver. The continuous light was the same and another silver.

Brothers Daniel and Nathan Baker competed in boys +5’4 divisions up to purple belt but in different disciplines.

Daniel took the win in semi-contact and Nathan the silver in continuous lightweight after a tight finish.

David Keder, another junior student who stepped up and left the club to compete in all three disciplines, managed to win a silver medal in the free form, a bronze medal in the lightweight continuous and just missed the semi-contact.

Roxy Johnson was the club’s only adult student to step onto the mats and win bronze in semi-contact and continuous light.

Two more bronze medals for the team came courtesy of coach Josh Small in the cadet semi-contact and light contact divisions.

All of these incredible performances amassed the team with a staggering 76 points, putting them top of the team’s overall standings, winning the Hereford Club title of ECKA Cup champions.

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