Karate warriors fill boots with 50 national medals
KARATE: When you’re at the head of the national set-up, you could be confident when your students step out for competition.
But for 7th dan black belt and Australian national coach, Sensei Lutie van den Berg, his Mackay Central Highlands Karate team’s efforts in winning 50 medals at the JKA-SKC National Karate Championships in Melbourne last weekend still comes as a huge surprise.
“It’s desire, dedication and determination. It’s all the Ds from the students, who show a lot of dedication,” said van den Berg, who trains the students three nights a week and on a Saturday.
“These students have shown me nothing is impossible, but it (result) was better than I could have expected.”
Loaded with talent, the team, who come as far away as Emerald on a weekly basis to train, scooped 16 gold, 17 silver and 17 bronze medals in both junior and senior competition.
Under-18 black belt Rosey Cameron, and junior black belt Emielia Jansen both finished top eight in the World Championships in Ireland in August and backed it up with a gold and silver, and a silver and bronze respectively.
In the black belt division, Paul Bosse, from Germany, but currently training with Mackay, won two golds, while Jordan Piscioneri won a Ladies Open gold.
Securing medals in junior and veterans divisions also, van den Berg said the team was made up of a nucleus of committed athletes who were competition ready.
“We are quite a big group now, we have internal and mini tournaments, so they get a lot of tournament experience,” he said.
“We identify them early, so they start doing the extra training from the beginners stage, so by the time they get to competitive level you could almost say they’re seasoned competitors.”
GETTING THEIR KICKS: The Mackay Central Highlands Karate team celebrate their haul in Melbourne.