A YOUNG Hereford karate star has struck gold in a big way Down Under.
Thirteen-year-old Emily Smith was part of the Tom Beardsley’s Samurai Karate School party taking part in the Kawata Cup in Melbourne and returned with three gold medals and a silver.
And her team-mate Jack Stead, who is based in Knighton, went one better and had four golds to bring back.
The Kawata Cup is a five-nation tournament between England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and Germany and 20 karate-ka from England and Wales combined forces to compete as Samurai GB. The majority of the English athletes train at Hereford Leisure Centre and Hereford Cathedral School under the guidance of Tom Beardsley with the Welsh contingent training in Knighton under Jim Whittington.
And the GB Squad dominated the competition, which was split into two sections, Juniors (under-13) and Seniors (13-20 yrs), winning two team golds and nine individual gold as well as nine silver and nine bronze to top the medal table.
The team competition was split into two disciplines, the team kata and team fighting.
Team kata is similar to a three-person synchronised gymnastic floor routine and GB came close to sweeping the board, finishing first, second and fourth. Stead (Knighton), Josh Dodwell and Connor Anderson (both Hereford) made up the winning team while the second-place side consisted of Sophie Vingoe (Knighton), Smith and Jade Booth-Edwards (both Hereford).
In the team fighting event, there was only one GB team but, after seeing off Germany in the semi-final, the quartet of Anderson, Smith, Dodwell and Vingoe beat New Zealand 3-0 for the title. Vingoe’s efforts earned her the accolade of best female competitor of the match.
“The team and parents have worked really hard to put this trip together and it is great to see that all their efforts have paid off,” said Beardsley. “Everyone is looking forward to the next Kawata cup which will be held in Japan during 2014.”
Samurai Karate GB individual medallists Junior: Michael Yalland (two gold), Caitlin Waldron (gold and bronze), Shaun Yalland (silver and bronze), Kayleigh Duggan (two bronze), Mitchell Poynter (two bronze), Elis Mostyn (bronze).
Seniors: Emily Smith (two gold and a silver), Sophie Vingoe (gold and silver), Stephen Loat (gold), Josh Dodwell (silver), Jack Stead (two gold), Connor Anderson (two silver), Jade Booth Edwards (two silver), Rebecca Duggin (two bronze).
Team fighting, gold medal winning team: Jack Stead, Sophie Vingoe, Josh Dodwell, Emily Smith.
Team kata, gold-medal winning team: Connor Anderson, Josh Dodwell, Jack Stead; silver-medal winning team: Jade Booth Edwards, Sophie Vingoe, Emily Smith.