KARATE: GABRIELLI CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Leilani Gabrielli continued her impressive year winning two silvers in kata and kumite in the National Shotokan Karate Championships at Crawley on Saturday. The 12-year-old was one of seven South East Shotokan Karate Academy students taking part, competing in a strong field and performing with a tenacious display of strength and control. Leilani’s latest success followed double golds in both 10-12 age categories at the regional Gima ha Shotokan Karate tournament, as well as bronze in the 14-17 Kata. She also represented England at the European JKA Championships in Serbia last May, where she finished in the topeight of her age group. More than 300 competitors took part in the event at the K2 Arena, with four of the other six SESKA students appearing for the first time at this level. Leilani’s younger sister, seven year-old Elena and nine-year-old Ava Thomas marked their national debut by winning bronze medals in the Kumite, with the latter missing out on qualifying to compete for silver and gold by the narrowest of margins. Jack William (12) and nine-year-old Leo Gabrielli, both performed well in their respective age categories of the boys’ individual kata and kumite (sparring), showing great spirit and style. Two other debutants, seven-year-old Simran Khaira and Zuzanna Krasowska, aged eight, performed well in the Kyu grades category. All the youngsters won praise for their achievements from SESKA founder and senior instructor sensei Geoff Luker.
Leilani Gabrielli with her medals and certificate
Ava Thomas, left, and Elena Gabrielli
John Hyde, Helen Easter and Ralph Johnson celebrate their victory in the Kent Championship