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The English Karate Championships were held in Sheffield on April 13th and 14th with the presence of Steve Coupland, president of the English Karate Federation and Peter Bibby, chief referee of the English Referee Commission. Kata and kumite athletes competed in individual and team events.

The quality of this round of competitions as opposed to what we had seen in the past was more desirable and aligned with international standards. Steve Coupland, a second term president, seems to have taken more fundamental steps towards restoring England’s karate and improvement of the technical skills of the athletes and coaches to ascertain England’s successful participation in the international arenas more than before.

The management of Peter Bibby as the new chief of the Referee Commission and Tony Dent as head of the coaches training department, made these tournaments more distinct than the previous competitions. Also, the laudable judgments of experienced referees such as Brian Javis, Gary Hoyle, Ivor Thomas and Nigel Blood should be noted. The judgements were fair with little flaws. Also, young referees judged the matches to upgrade their refereeing ranks.

Renowned British karate figures were present among the coaches, naming Natalie Williams, Matt Price and Shareena Edmonds, each having numerous accolades in their sports records.

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Lauren Salisbury, a -68 kg athlete of the England National Squad was one of the most prepared participants in these competitions. Her outstanding victory in the final match against EKKA’s Rebecca Marshall attests to this claim. She defeated Rebecca 6-1 to become the champion in this weight category and establish her standing as a -68 kg in the England national team.

The -60 kg final match was one of the most spectacular final events where Kamran Hosseini from Chelsea Karate Club was defeated by Mathieu Ross of Karate Do Federation with a score of 3-2. Kamran Hosseini managed to make it to the final match after leaving behind Anthony Halsal, Jack Moran and Thomas Handley and compete against a finalist who had defeated Adnan Mahmud in the semi-final.

In -84 kg, Remijigus Jurgilaitus of JKS England won the gold medal. He proved a high technical skill by defeating Hamza Oztakin.

In other weight categories, Niamh Cosgrove, Robin Vincent, Jasmin Polmery, Rochelle Walters, Jed Thompson, Brandon Wilkins and Brandon Jewell received gold medals.
In the female individual kata, Jordana Williams of Yanagi Kai and James Harrison of FSK in the male individual kata became champions.

Shahin Naqipour Jafari, holder of world gold and silver medals, also participated in these competitions after six years of injury and absence. He managed to defeat Harrison Williams 8-2 and Tom Little 11-3 in -75 kg and win the bronze medal.

The England National Squad will participate in the EKF senior championships, which will be held on May 8 in Zadar, Croatia.

SportsEmic editorial team – Farzad Youshanlou