Karate kid kicks com­pe­ti­tion

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

She doesn’t per­form ‘The Crane’, but Alexan­dra’s own Karate Kid is tak­ing the world by storm.

Mor­gan Pot­ter, 15, re­cently re­turned from Toronto, Canada with a ku­mite bronze medal in the 14 to 15-year-old divi­sion at the World Karate Cham­pi­onships.

The Dun­stan High School year 11 pupil was one of 26 com­peti­tors cho­sen for the com­pe­ti­tion by world renowned Sen­sei Ray Irv­ing, of Auck­land, af­ter a string of im­pres­sive per­for­mances at na­tional events.

It was a ‘‘joy’’ and a ‘‘re­lief’’ to get a medal at her first world champs af­ter be­ing ‘‘very ner­vous’’ be­fore the tour­na­ment and pre­par­ing for more than a year, Mor­gan said.

‘‘It gets quite nerve-rack­ing be­cause it hap­pens so fast. You never know how good they [the op­po­nents] are un­til you fight them. You have to think about how they are fight­ing and try and adapt to see how you can get in first with­out hav­ing a point scored on you.’’

The medal was nice but for Mor­gan, karate was more than a com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘[You make] friends for life,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s just given me so much con­fi­dence that if I’m in a sit­u­a­tion on the street, I can de­fend my­self and I can han­dle it.’’

Mor­gan, a first dan black belt, has been learn­ing for about nine years along­side her dad, for­mer New Zealand pow­er­lift­ing cham­pion Bruce Pot­ter.

She was a ‘‘bit lucky’’ train­ing with him, as it had helped with the phys­i­cal­ity that went along with the sport, Mor­gan said.

Pot­ter was ex­tremely proud of his daugh­ter.

‘‘We’ve been train­ing very, very hard for a long time now. A lot of ex­tra days just one-on-one,’’ he said. ’’To come back with a medal is pretty amaz­ing.’’

Pot­ter, a chil­dren’s book au­thor and artist, said the sport was very ‘‘fam­ily ori­ented’’ and it made a dif­fer­ence to chil­dren’s con­fi­dence.

‘‘It’s a heck of a lot of fun [and] it teaches you a lot of very par­tic­u­lar skills. Ev­ery­body’s there to help each other out. As long as you’re get­ting out of it what you want to get out of it, that’s the key.’’

*Karate is held on Tues­days and Thurs­days from 5pm to 6pm for be­gin­ners, and 6pm to 7pm for brown and black belts, at the St Ger­ard’s School hall.

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