Karate war­riors fill boots with 50 na­tional medals

Daily Mercury - - SPORT -

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.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

GET­TING THEIR KICKS: The Mackay Cen­tral High­lands Karate team cel­e­brate their haul in Mel­bourne.

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