Karate kids stay ‘grounded’ despite Euro golden glory

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AFTER about 40 years at the helm of Jersey Kenpo Karate, one might forgive Roy MacDonald for rarely being amazed at successes within the sport.

The accomplished martial artist trained under Ed Parker, the founder of American Kenpo Karate, who said his former student is one of the four most ‘highly-talented black belts in Europe’.

However, the latest exploits of MacDonald’s team has left the ninth-degree black-belt ‘gobsmacked’, with a medal haul of 13 golds, eight silvers and three bronze.

The pandemic has affected all sports over the past couple of years, and karate is no different. The inability to travel and compete has led to the implementation of virtual tournaments.

Italy played host to the most recent Online European Karate Championships, which was the fourth online competition that the Jersey-based team had been involved in, adding to Boston, New York and Ireland.

MacDonald said: ‘I was unsure as to how the tournaments would run, but they have been a huge success.

‘The only aspect we are unable to perform virtually is sparring, but apart from that we can record the routine and send it across to the judges for scoring.

‘This event [Italy] was certainly the one I am most proud of. Bringing home 13 golds and a total of 24 medals is absolutely unbelievable. I am so proud of all the kids. Moments like these remind me of why I still coach.’

The team comprised martial artists as young as five ranging through to 14. Many of the ‘older’ members of the group have been part of the Jersey Kenpo team since a very young age.

MacDonald was full of praise for the temperament and maturity of his team.

‘It’s incredible how grounded they are,’ he said. ‘Anyone would think that young kids who are successful would be waving medals around everywhere, but they are not like that.

‘We joke with Lexi Farrell, saying that she probably has a room in her house just to store the medals she has collected over the years.

‘I think the sport of karate, and martial arts as a whole, instils a huge amount of discipline and respect from an early age. To remain humble and gracious in both success and defeat is central to the arts and one that this team have developed through the process.’

Online European Karate Championships – Jersey medallists

Individual form/Kata: Lola Jones (gold), Jasper Burton (gold), Jules Burton (gold), Sophia Townsend (gold), Marcel Surowiec (gold), Adelin Puican (silver), Diogo Viveiros (silver), Conagh Muir (silver), Ethan Barrett (silver), Fabio Viveiros (bronze), Diogo Viveiros (bronze).

Team form/Kata: Ethan Barrett (gold), Sophie Townsend (gold), Jules Burton (gold), Conagh Muir (gold), Fabio Viveiros (gold), Diogo Viveiros (gold), Jasper Burton (silver), Marcel Surowiec (silver).

Self defence sequence: Sophia Townsend (gold), Lexi Farrell (silver), Adelin Puican (bronze).

Creative form/Kata: Adelin Puican (gold), Lexi Farrell (silver).

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