From high school­ers to our ‘karate kids’

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

KARATE: They may be high school­ers just try­ing to fig­ure out what they want to do with their lives, but they’re not or­di­nary teenagers.

Five Whit­sun­day karate stu­dents are about to head to Osaka, Ja­pan where they will com­pete against some of the best mar­tial artists in the world.

The spir­i­tual home of karate will host the 22nd All Ja­pan Kyokushin Cham­pi­onships on June 24 and Whit­sun­day stu­dents Se­bas­tian Heat­ley, Ja­cob Farrell, Jack Wil­son, Imo­gen Tulk and Ryan Stephens will be there.

The full con­tact cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment re­quired com­peti­tors to qual­ify by com­pet­ing in lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions with strong plac­ings.

Can­non­vale Dojo sen­sei Belinda Wood­ham said the stu­dents wouldn’t just be rep­re­sent­ing the Whit­sun­days, they would be rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tralia.

“To me it’s like you’re go­ing against the best in the world,” she said.

“The Ja­panese are known to be the best. To go to that league it will be some­thing they have never ever ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.

“They are the best full con­tact fight­ers in Ja­pan.”

How­ever Wood­ham said she was con­fi­dent that stu­dents from both the Proser­pine and Can­non­vale Do­jos would be ready for the chal­lenge.

“I see them at train­ing all the time and they give a lot,” she said. “The train­ing is tough. You have to have the right men­tal at­ti­tude to push through when the times are tough. It’s not easy train­ing (we do). The kids they are fight­ing live and breathe it.”

The stu­dents said they all wanted to con­tinue their karate ca­reers as they got older.

The five stu­dents will travel to Ja­pan for a week where they will com­pete in the two day tour­na­ment as well as train at tra­di­tional do­jos..

PHOTO: DANE LILLINGSTONE

KARATE KIDS: Se­bas­tian Heat­ley, Ja­cob Farrell, Imo­gen Tulk and Jack Wil­son are four of the karate stu­dents who are off to Ja­pan.

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