14th English International Open
Crystal Palace 7th Sept 03
Just a week after the phenomenal success of the Commonwealth Championships, England played host to a second major International karate tournament. The International Open is always a popular event, but this time many of the visiting Commonwealth teams made a tour of it. The Australian, New Zealand, and Botswanan teams all stayed the extra week, and all were rewarded with honours. Other countries represented included Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Norway and the Czech Republic, as well as a number of British federation teams.
The Commonwealths was a tough tournament and many of the England stars deservedly decided to rest, but some braved a second major competition with only a week’s respite, and high praise indeed is due to the home and visiting athletes who took on this challenge.
In the Mens’ Kata, Australia’s Tim Jovanivic, improved on his Commonwealth Bronze meeting England’s Jonathan Mottram in the final. For the second time in eight days, Mottram was victorious, adding English open Gold to his Commonwealth title. In the Womens’ kata Australia’s Kara Sleigh, not placed in the Commonwealths, took gold, and her teammate Alexia Hunter took silver, matching her performance of the previous week.
In the Mens’ U60 Kumite England’s Paul Newby took revenge over New Zealand’s Todd Hammington. Hammington took the Commonwealth title, leaving Newby in third. This time the positions were reversed. The England 60+ womens’ dream team of Katrina Lowe and Tania Weekes met in the final for the second time in a week. The result was the same, Weekes taking Gold, and Lowe runner up.
The excellent, dreadlocked Tyron Edwards of New Zealand improved on his Commonwealth openweight Bronze with a Gold in the U80 Mens’ kumite.
In the final medal table Australia were tops with three Golds, but the entertaining Botwana team were only one bronze behind them. British Sport Karate, a single federation against a raft of National teams took three Golds to take third place overall.
Future dates for your diary:
29/30 November 2003, the British Karate Federation Championships at Sheffield. These will include the Six Nation Grandslam (England, France, Spain, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland).
24/25 January 2004, Junior English Open at Crystal Palace.