The world championship kicks off
More than 2,000 take part from around globe
More than 2,000 people from across the globe flocked to Dundee yesterday as Scotland’s biggest karate event got under way.
Athletes, coaches and spectators from as far afield as Brazil, Argentina, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Egypt and the US came to the city’s ice arena for the first day of the World Union of Karate-Do Federations (WUKF) World Championships.
The event runs until Sunday, welcoming 2,280 competitors of all ages and 230 coaches. The transformed ice rink was full of shouts and cheers as athletes went head-to-head in combat in the likes of kata, kumite and team events.
Dundee’s Roy O’Kane, president of host club Kanzen Karate, said the competition had drawn the “best karate athletes in the world”.
He added: “We have over 40 countries here and 110 referees in the spirit of international karate competition.
“This is one of the top events on the karate calendar. We have top athletes trying to become champions. The international audience is very diverse. People are here mixing together, making friendships, having a good time and enjoying their karate.
He said the economies of Dundee and Angus would be boosted to the tune of “millions of pounds” by the championships.
“The bars are full, the hotels are full, we have people staying in St Andrews,
Perth and Angus so there is overspill into those areas,” Mr O’Kane said.
Honorary president of the WUKF, and president of the Brazilian Confederation of Karate Interestilos (CBKI), Osvaldo Messia Oliveria said: “(It is) one of the best events of the world here in Dundee. We are very happy to be here. We are here not for medals, but to get friendships, to get friends.”
Kata competitor Pamela Wollf, 65, came from Chicago with more than 100 martial artists from the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in the US.
The attorney said it was a “wonderful” feeling to represent her country. She added: “I’ve never competed internationally before. The people are really friendly.”
Lutha Singata, 20, and Linde Delport, 23, came from Grahamstown, South Africa, with the United Shotokan-Ryu.
Mr Singata said: “We’ve come here not just for the medals, but for the experience. It’s a beautiful country, it’s a beautiful town.”
Mr Delport said: “Dundee is quite impressive, it’s a really cool town.” Declan Gahan and Peter Roche, of the Pat Rocket Martial Arts club, travelled from Waterford in Ireland as part of a 25-strong group to watch their children take part.
Mr Roche, 49, said: “It is a huge event. For so many kids to compete for their country, it’s wonderful. Mr Gahan, 45, said: “There’s clubs from all over Ireland here.”
Athlete and instructor Garry Lucas, 53, came from Liverpool with daughters Hannah, 16, and Mia, 14. Garry, of Shukokai Karate Union (SKU) said: “I started karate around about 12 years ago. It’s a family thing. I was impressed with the city.”
Coach and competitor Tyrone Jeffers of the Caribbean Karate Federation in East London travelled north with nine students. He said: “It’s a great venue. This is a very big event.
“The Caribbean Karate Federation is a great squad. “We’ve got some great children from seven years upwards. “At an event like this, it’s brilliant.” The championship’s official opening ceremony will be held tonight.
We have over 40 countries here,more than 2,200 participants, 110 referees and 230 coaches from all over. ROY O’KANE
Michele Schirinzi of UKS Italy, top, and, above, smiling medal winners. Left, Amaya Schneider, 14, and Maile Nacu, 13, both from the US, in action.
Dundee’s ice arena has been transformed for the world championships and, above, more action from the contest.