Karate hot-shots deliver once again

SSKI's winning kata team - Danny Richards, Thomas Carson and Sam Richards.
SSKI's winning kata team - Danny Richards, Thomas Carson and Sam Richards.

A GROUP of Dacorum’s Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International representatives put in a top display at one of the most prestigious tournaments in the karate calendar.

Competitors from all over the UK, as well as Holland, Belgium and the Czech Republic, gathered for the 2011 Portsmouth Open Karate Tournament – and the local representatives once again came home with a haul of medals.

One of the stand-out performances came in the tough U16 team kata event, where the Hemel Hempstead club won the gold medal in real style.

The team of Thomas Carson (13), Sam Richards (15) and Danny Richards (15) performed the hardest kata – Unsu – to bag the win.

Elsewhere, Ethan Hagel took a gold medal in the three-step kumite event, and Rachael Houlton swept the competition aside to win the ladies’ free-fighting title.

Lauren Brooks (15) repeated the feat in the senior girls’ free-fighting event, giving the club four gold medals on the day.

Three silver medals were also taken by local students – with Carson, Sam Richards, and the ladies’ free-fighting team of Houlton, Leah Groom and Arthi Niranjan all taking second places.

Bronze medals were scooped by Houlton, Niranjan and Danny Richards.

To add to the medal tally, Adam Cockfield took a gold medal as part of a mixed London team that won the men’s five-man international team free-fighting title.

Cockfield won his personal duel with a confident performance in an exciting final.

Worldwide SSKI chief instructor Malcolm Phipps 8th Dan, who is also the Hemel Hempstead instructor, said: “Five champions in this very high class tournament is another huge success.

“This has been a wonderful year and indeed one of the very best in our 34-year history in Hemel.”