A Report from Ireland 2: An Interview with Gold Medalists of 2017 IKIF International Championships,
Winning a gold! Well what can I say. It was absolutely extraordinary! Definitely something never to be forgotten. Getting out of one round in China, was a stepping stone and it just built my confidence but to actually go on and win gold was mesmerising. I remember the build up to the podium. Standing in line, waiting anxiously, with the Irish tribe colours around my neck. Then the walk to the podium and that final leap onto first position. It felt like a dream. Just standing there looking out at all the Irish, shouting and cheering, Mam with tears streaming down her face, it was unbelievable. Cameras were flashing left, right and centre. I never thought that for my second international championships I would be standing at the top of the podium-I'd be the best. It was a privilege just to be on the podium and to represent my family, club and Ireland. Overall it was an amazing experience. The competition itself was large to say the least and It was brilliant to be a part of it and also to be a part of an Irish team which accomplished so much.
Eimear Porter – Gold Kata Cadet (16 – 17 years)
“Having competed in four previous IKIF World Championships including; Kuala Lumpar, Los Angeles and twice in Japan, I never gave up on my dream of winning a gold medal in Kata. For the 2017 Itosu-ryu Karatedo International Championships in Shanghai I worked hard to accomplish my goal alongside the rest of my fellow Irish teammates. I had a feeling of pride that my persistence in training had finally given me an opportunity to stand on the podium and to be presented with a gold medal by Sakagami Soke. It was truly a momentous occasion for me. I was happy to be able to share this moment with my family and clubmates from Ireland who were so supportive. Karate is and always has been a huge part of my life and will continue to be so. Thanks to the IKIF for giving us the opportunity to compete at such a high standard and against such great competitors from all over the world”.
Gold in Over 50`s Female Kata
I recently had the immense honour of attending the Itosu Ryu Karatedo International Champions in China as a member of team Ireland. I can only describe the feelings stepping out onto the Tatami as pride and terrifying, leaning more towards terrifying as I bowed to start my first Kata. I just kept thinking 'you can do this'! I always find the first round is the hardest because of the adrenaline and nerves but as the rounds go on, it gets easier and my nerves tend to settle down a bit. I have been lucky to attend 2 previous International Championships but this is the first time I've reached the final, so it was a whole new experience for me stepping onto the Tatami for the final. There was a feeling of fear and a whole host of thoughts going through my head ranging from 'please don't forget the kata' to 'I can't believe I'm in the final' to 'relax you idiot, just breath, you can do this'. The memory of performing the kata is a bit of a blur, but I will never forget the feeling of joy seeing those flags go up in my favour, the rush of emotions as I bowed out and turned to celebrate with the rest of the team. To top off an amazing day, my most cherished memory will be the moment I got to stand on the podium with the Irish flag around my shoulders, with cheers from my wonderful Irish teammates, as I was presented with my gold medal and certificate by Soke Sadaaki Sakagami. It is a feeling I will truly never forget.
Gold – Senior Ladies Kata (36 – 49 years)
The 2017 IKIF International Karate Championships started for me in 2016. As Chief Instructor and team manager of the IKIF Ireland branch, there was a lot to do in preparation for the championships. Students, coaches and families began preparations at least a year in advance for this tournament and were full of commitment and hope as August 2017 approached. Time passed quickly and before we knew it, we were in Shanghai University of traditional medicine competing at the tournament.
Registration of competitors on the day of competition was time consuming. However, once competitors got to the tatami area, the tournament ran well. Team Ireland had performed very well in kata on the Friday and were performing similarly in kumite on the Saturday. This gave me a huge sense of pride and I wanted to do my best for the team in kumite. My bout in the final was one of strategy. It had to be, as I knew my opponent was experienced and very capable. I had seen him fight before. When the referee called “yame” and I was announced the winner, I was so happy. I felt for my opponent’s loss when we shook hands but I had a tremendous feeling of success, satisfaction, relief and joy, a truly mixed state of emotion. I will never forget that feeling. Also, I was extremely honoured to receive my medal from Soke Sadaaki Sakagami on the winner’s podium.
I have attended and competed in kata and kumite at the 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2013 IKIF Internationals but 2017 in Shanghai will remain extra special in my heart.
Team Ireland had a wonderful experience in Shanghai. As members of IKIF we are privileged to have the opportunities presented by international tournaments to competitors, non-competitors, family and friends. On behalf of the IKIF Ireland branch, we thank the 2017 IKIF tournament organisers and congratulate them on a very successful International Karate Championships. Also, my thanks to Zhou Le, Director of Tianyuan Sports for prompt communications in the months leading up to the tournament.
Photo above shows the medalists in the over 50’s kumite: left to right: Shoji Kato, Leo Mulvany, John Dolphin, Shigeru Niina
Gold, Kumite Senior (50 years old and over)