English Karate Federation Regional Championships. March 2010.

Dudley in the West Midlands was the location selected for this years Regional Championships and a three in one format was adopted for the event. That is to say, all three regions were to compete simultaneously, having been allocated two Tatami's each in the venue. The Crystal Leisure centre had been arranged by Paul Campbell, the new EKF tournament organiser and after months of planning and a few teething problems, it all passed off successfully. As for our own Wado UK group, we sent 10 competitors to the event, covering both Kata and Kumite.

Day 1

Day one was to see all Kata divisions and the 9 Yrs and under Kumite categories.
For the Kata we had Matthew March representing us and his ShinKen Dojo. Matthew performed maturely in his 16-17 Yrs category, losing out to the eventual winner and England international, Alex Gardner. This did get the ball rolling for the group though as it provided our first medal of the weekend, a bronze.

Later in the day we had Jessica Bates competing in the girls Kumite section. Jessica trains at the St Nicholas Dojo and is a regular competitor. This experience was to pay dividends, as she beat a Shindo Kai girl in the final who had recently relegated her to a silver medal, at the AMA International in Sheffield. This provided and Wado UK the second and final medal for day one, a gold.

Day 2

Day two was to see all the remaining Kumite divisions. And this provided the remaining 8 competitors from Wado UK with an opportunity to compete. For us the day started with Harry Oetegenn, Joe Munro and Nathan Bates. Again this was to provide medals for the group. Unfortunately Nathan from the St Nicholas Dojo was to fall short of the medals, but represented the association well with his tenacity and desire. Harry and Joe from the Woodford Dojo were to fair better, as they took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Joe picking up a cut to the eyelid in the process.

Later in the day, Jessica Newton and Ashleigh Clarkson from the ShinKen Dojo took to the mats. Expectations are always high for Jess, but on this occasion her division was under subscribed and as a result the decision was taken to enter her in the next age group up. This would be a difficult transition for the youngster, but she rose to the challenge and took another bronze medal for her collection. Ashleigh was to follow in her footsteps with a further bronze medal immediately afterwards.

Finishing day two would be the senior sections. With Barry Meanwell, Chris and Dean Fenton from the Woodford Dojo being our representation. First to compete was Dean in his -67 kg section. Dean has recently returned to competition, after a significant lay-off. The match going to full time with the scores being even for most of the time, meant it would be a tight finish. It wasn't to be Dean's day however, as nearing the end of the match, his opponent managed to put daylight between himself and Dean. This left Dean in a bronze medal position as his consolation. Chris and Barry would be next in the -84 kg section. Managing to avoid each other before they met in the final, assured Wado UK of both the gold and silver medals. The question was, which way would the result look following the match. After a long and hard fought 4 minute match, the decision was Barry's, but both men doing the association and their clubs proud.

Normally this would have been the end of the competition, but a Grand Championship between the winners of weight groups from each region was to conclude the days proceedings. With Barry being the Northern regional Champion, he was destined to meet the winners of the other regions in a mini competition of their own. In his first match he met the son of the tournament organiser, who he had recently been frustrated with at the England Squad Selections. Today gave Barry the opportunity to turn the tables and this he duly did, dispatching his opponent with a comfortable points victory. This left Barry battered, bleeding and bruised, but never the less one step nearer the Grand Championship Final. In this next fight he was to meet the first of twin brothers. The outcome was to be the same however, as he once again battled hard to dispose of another opponent. One more fight then and the title of Grand Champion would be his, but could he finish the day off in style. Yes would be the answer, although not without further injury. Barry managed to gain a lead against the twin of his earlier opponent, a lead which he wouldn't relinquish. Although the match was always under Barry's control, the fight took its toll and the final bell although arriving slightly earlier than the allotted 4 minutes, couldn't have come a moment too early for him.

This left Barry aching and tired, but with the satisfying feeling that after a long hard day's competition, he reigned supreme as the English Karate Federation Grand Champion 2010.



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