AMA Tournament a Triumph of International Relations. AMA International Open 2003, Harvey Hadden, Nottingham
In these post 9/11, brink-of-Gulf-conflict times, who is going to risk international air travel to attend a karate tournament? Well, as tournament organiser Peter Allen will be proud to testify, over 650 athletes did. In fact teams from Iran, Pakistan, India, Canada, and all regions of Europe (a total of 15 different countries) made the journey to the Harvey Hadden Sports Centre in Nottingham for a two-day event on February 22nd and 23rd. The Indian team had an eventful, if somewhat convoluted journey from London to Nottingham, but eventually they made it. It’s heartening to note that, in the days when many pundits expect imminent war, competitors from all the likely combatant continents; Europe, Asia/ The Middle East, and North America put all such thought behind them to attend in a spirit of international sport.
It’s a shame that in the current political climate the proceedings were opened with warnings about the dangers of unattended bags, and restrictions on the use of cameras and camcorders due to child protection issues, but pretty well everyone agreed that these measures were for the best. In any case the facilities at Harvey Hadden were more than able to cope with the bag storage, and Escape Photography provided excellent support as the event’s official photographers.
Saturday saw kata to a truly international standard.  The Maltese Lucienne Garcia took gold in both the Female senior, and the Female veterans’ Kata sections. Tony Dent of Hull Wado proved that Shotokan / Shitoryu do not have the monopoly on kata by taking gold in the Male Veterans.
Sunday was kumite day. Six mats ran for the full day, officiated over by Chief Referee Brian Noble and his unstinting team. This reporter is consistently impressed by the current standard of junior competitors, and this event lived up to expectation.  The WKF “no face contact” rule was observed and enforced throughout the day, making for an enjoyable sporting occasion.
During the proceedings, the contributions from the overseas VIPs were recognised. Peter Kazienko, of USKA (Ukranian  Shotokan Karate Association) was presented with an award from his namesake, Peter Allen of USKA (United Styles Karate Academy). Suzanne Genery, EKGB and Team GB Performance Coach presented an award to Fereidun “Freddy” Dariagard, President of the International Sougo Budo Academy of Denmark.
The senior kumite again included an over 35 years category, which attracted the largest ever field for this event, including your reporter (aiming to improve on last year’s Bronze, but in the event, out first round). I guess I speak for many when I suggest that, whilst it’s good to continue pitting oneself against the young bucks, the ageing population will be attracted to more and more “masters” events. Tournament organisers please take note. Athletics have been doing it for years, and the seniors’ tennis circuit has proved very popular too.
In the individuals and the teams, the overseas contingent, notably the Iranians, Belgians and the Maltese were particularly strong. Some interesting rivalries developed, and sometimes the ensuing face contact called upon all the best skills of discretion and judgement from the refereeing teams.
Confusion in the Mens’ openweight saw the wrong man awarded the Silver, before the final had been fought. When Pete Allen intervened and asked for the trophy back, the Belgian refused. With the Wisdom of Solomon, Allen awarded two silvers and two bronzes, and everyone wnt home (a little) happy. Britain’s Jason Ledgister predictably, but not easily, took Gold in the mens’ U70 category, and it was a one-two for the hosts, AMA, in the male 16-17 kumite, with Ben Moir beating Alex Mason (is he still not a senior?) in the final.
Full results follow. Thanks to the staff at Harvey Hadden for their excellent facility management, to the Derbyshire St. John’s Ambulance for medical support, the referees and officials, and again to everyone who made the journey to Nottingham, especially the overseas visitors.
The AMA is the largest multi style Martial arts association in Britain. For more info check out, or telephone 01332 663 086. Next event, the AMA North West Open, Darwen , April 6th.
Martyn Skipper AMA Press Officer.