The Mid Sussex based Renshinkan karate team, head out this coming weekend to represent Great Britain in the International Karate Tournament organised by the Federation of Shorinjiryu Renshinkan Karate Do.
The 28 strong team travel with two judges, a film production company (Lightwind Film Productions based in Brighton) and chaperones who will all set off on this once in a lifetime experience in the next few days.
Great Britain has competed in the International Championships only once before in Japan during 2010, when they achieved the highest ranking of any overseas country by achieving two 3rd round places in the kata (forms) and one 3rd round place in the kumite (sparring) competition.
Training for the tournament started in September 2013 at the Triangle leisure centre in Burgess Hill. From the initial squad of 54, final selections were made in October 2014 with the squad then honing skills and preparing for competition every Thursday evening and Saturday morning.
The tournament is hotly contested with 22 nations from across the globe taking part. It involves some1000 participant’s completing in the championships.
The youngest Great Britain team member is Leo You, who is 9 years old from Haywards Heath, his family are originally from Taiwan, whilst the oldest competitor in the team is Marc DonFrancesco (50) who lives in Chelwood Gate.
Julia Turley, leader of Great Britain Renshinkan said: “It has taken a tremendous amount of commitment and hard work from the squad including parents and guardians to reach this stage. I am grateful to the team and inspired by the power that has been unlocked in the organisation over the last two years. I am very proud of them all.
“I would also like to thank all those parents and friends of the Renshinkan School who have donated funds to assist with the considerable expenses involved in supporting the team. All of the students have had to be self-funding, with the tour costing in excess of £2,500 per person. With the help of our sponsors we have been able to support a number of students in order that they can compete and represent their country.
“I have set a team objective of achieving three, quarter final placements but if we all support each other and remain focussed we may be able to progress further.”
The team will spend three days acclimatising in Hong Kong before travelling onto Taiwan for Thursday 30th July. The tournament is being held on August 2nd in Taichung at the Hsing University, which also happens to be the birthday of team member Ben Cartin (Burgess Hill) who will be 13 years of age on the day he competes.
I have set a team objective of achieving three, quarter final placements but if we all support each other and remain focussed we may be able to progress furtherJulia Turley
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