Recently, the North West Shotokan Karate Club traveled as part of the National Karate Federation of Ireland to Malta for the 10th WUKF European Championships, which ran from 25 to 28 October 2018. It was a great environment for such a prestigious event to host thousands of athletes from 49 European federations.
At junior level, Lucas McColgan and Zara Thompson were the youngest competitors with this squad, and they did not betray. Lucas did what he did best and showed grit and determination to fight through multiple rounds and achieve a bronze medal in the semi-finals. Zara executed her kata so beautiful that it was no surprise when she was awarded a silver medal for her display on the carpet. Zara also competed in the 11-Irish kumite rotation team and demanded a bronze medal.
Two other major athletes Joshua Thompson and Rachel Carlin also fought well for their country at this championship. Joshua had an incredible experience but was unfortunately exposed to the final winner of his category. Rachael used great focus and went to the quarterfinals of the kumite and the final in Kata which is a brilliant personal achievement.
At the cadet level, Lucy Casey, Emma Ellis and Hollie Gallagher featured during the team events, and have learned valuable lessons for progression. These three girls are formidable together, each giving another skill to their team, so it was no surprise when they raised two bronze team medals for Ireland. At this level, it is wonderful that our little club has produced the talent and skills required to compete comfortably with some of the best in Europe. It's not surprising when these girls were in their individual categories, they comfortably competed not only against any tough competitors but won over them.
In the older men James Burke had a crackdown that showed great skill and precision to reach the finals on Sunday and claims a total of three bronze medals in total, two for teams and the third in the coveted individual junior category. Stephen John Carlin is no stranger to this level of competition and the final day would not be the same without him on the carpets. As usual, he made the club proud and took home a silver in his individual junior weight category and three bronze team medals. Our steady coach Ethan O'Donnell honored us on a higher level by achieving two bronze team medals.
No pressure at all when it came to elderly ladies Laura Browne, Rebecca Burke and Elaine Dullaghan as they competed in Ireland's Sanbon team that secured the club another European bronze. These experienced females are always competitive, as reflected in their own individual events. Laura Browne had an outstanding competition that earns a place in the 60-65kg semifinals, which secures a bronze to himself. Rebecca Burke specializes in Kata, an event she is highly respected in, so much that N.K.F.I chose her as the only leading woman to make kata in this junior category and took great pleasure in her progress through the rounds. Elaine Dullaghan was both responsible for being coach and competitor who is quite challenging at any competition, never thinking of such quality. Regarding her own event, she struggled to win her fight against a very strong Italian in the quarterfinals but missed a medal opportunity in the next round.
Those who are part of a club will feel the commitment and the driving force required to ensure development, so some thanksgiving has to be extended to several valuable members of this team. It's not easy to wear the robe for everyone and the fact that Ethan O'Donnell and Elaine Dullaghan have scaled off their own personal aspirations to coach our younger competitors, and sharing the knowledge has not gone unnoticed. We also acknowledge the enormous work that Ciara Dullaghan and Sloan O'Donnell offer as coaches and while the work commitments prevented them from traveling with us, we look forward to their presence in the future. Not only are we a team we are a family and it's Mandy McNulty who is the glue that keeps us all the way, she must be famous for all the hard work and self-sacrifice she's on our behalf, and we're super proud to see her judge in such events
It may be a lonely place sometimes when traveling abroad for competitions of this scale dominated by strong countries like Romania, Italy and Slovakia. Among this color, you will get a glimpse of green for Ireland and hear the loyal followers of our loyal followers. A deep thank you extends to all the parents traveling with the squad at every event, your support is important to us. We are looking forward to the season ahead of us and are proud of the results achieved by our group at this time.