Town hosts karate championships
Scores of competitors filled the Margaret River Cultural Centre at the weekend for the international Universal Shotokan Karate Union Championships.
The championships, held on alternative years in Japan, included nearly 50 overseas competitors from 10 countries competing against 110 karateka from Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and WA. It included local seminars and training at the Margaret River Karate Club.
Margaret River, which had more than 30 students competing, fared exceptionally well, bagging more than 35 medals in kata, kumite, bunkai and team events.
“I have nothing but praise for our students,” sensei and sixth dan black belt Ken Rouw said. “They competed so well.
“Our karate friends from interstate and overseas had a taste of Margaret River that most visitors miss out on — friendship, hospitality and generosity.
“We were able to showcase Margaret River, it’s environment, lifestyle and people.”
A highlight of the competition included Margaret River Senior High School student Zebediah Barnett winning the Carl Marriott Award.
Barnett, 15, was presented the enviable award following the three-day event for his outstanding achievements during the international competition.
Rouw said it was only the second time the award had been handed out.
The Carl Marriott Award started four years ago, following the passing of the eponymous chief instructor of Universal Shotokan Karate Union.
“After Carl died suddenly a few years ago, it was decided to carry on his memory in this way,” Rouw said. “He was the chief instructor of this organisation since the mid-1970s and was an inspirational leader — and karate was his life. He was a true warrior.
“The award is given to a junior competitor who performed to the best of his or her ability, was successful in their events, showed humility in winning and demonstrated strong spirit in competing, as well as reflecting some of the characteristics of Shihan Carl Marriott.”
Barnett said the win took him by surprise.
“It was so unexpected but nice to receive it as a reward on my karate journey,” he said.
Barnett came first or second in the seven events he was in — winning gold and silver medals for his efforts in individual kata, team kata, kumite, bunkai and group events.
Competitors demonstrate during the weekend’s international event.