It was sheer strength and heart exhibited by Team Barbados as they ended the third International Karate Daigaku World Cup with a whopping 46 gold medals this past weekend at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Barbados with a 52-strong contingent hosted the World Championship for the very first time and were adjudged the most outstanding country, as this was the most impressive showing ever by a Barbadian team. They were five individual awards shared among the youth ranging from eight years through to 19, then the adults ranging from 20 to 49.
Asha Stevenson, a national footballer, had a good appearance in the 11-13 girls section, and captured the most outstanding female youth award but tied with Leah Bergmanis of Canada who featured in the 16 to 19 category for that award.
The Harrison College schoolgirl ended with a total of five medals inclusive of four gold in the individual Kumite and the Kata in which she scored a deserving 29.2 points. The other two came in the team Kata and Enbu, along with silver in the team Bunkai performed with teammates Tia Archer and Amelia St Hill. Stevenson, Archer and St Hill were the trio that brought glory to Barbados in the group Kata and Enbu for that division.
Marc-Antoine Trahan of Canada was a clear winner for the most outstanding youth with five gold competing in the 16 to 19 age group. In the adult section, Ken stole the show with five medals, two gold, and three silver. But in the ultimate event, Woon-A-Tai was dethroned in the men’s 20 to 39 Kumite final by former two-time Caribbean champion Dean Avril representing Jamaica.
The 33-year-old Avril, a St Lucian by birth who currently holds a fourth dan black belt won his 20 to 39 Kumite semifinal match against eventual bronze medallist Corey Greaves of Barbados before taking on Woon-A-Tai in the final. Avril said it had been fun ever since the qualifiers for Kumite.
“It was challenging, but at the same time, it was very much fun,” Avril said, while explaining his strategy for the semifinal and final. “Coming into the qualifiers, it was mainly to establish a trend, let persons know not to come close to him, he is attacking, he is hitting, and it worked pretty well up until the semifinal. But then when you got to the more experienced fighters, then the strategy had to change regarding being more tactical.”
National captain Greaves in his final year representing the ultra-marine, gold and black, led by example in the men’s 20 to 39 Division with four medals including one gold in the team Bunkai with teammates Kevin Cox and Nathan Richards. That formidable trio especially Greaves and Cox who has represented Barbados over the years, initially tied in the team Bunkai with Canadian trio led by Woon-A-Tai, Lorne Bissoon, and Navindra Soodoo on 26.2 and after going up against the judges one more time, the teams were separated by point one as Barbados registered 26.4 for the gold to Canada’s 26.3.
Greaves also captured two silvers in both the team Kata and Kumite, while taking one bronze in the individual Kumite. Barbados also represented well in the 20-39 category with a golden display from Shannon Skeete, Allison James and Janelle Harewood in the team Kumite. They, however, had to settle for third in the group Kata and Enbu. Meanwhile, James got bronze for Barbados in the 20 to 39 women’s Kumite.
The males 16 to 19 did reasonably well for Barbados thanks to Brian McConney with silver in the individual Kata ahead of teammate Joseph Tseu. And in the team Kata itself, McConney, Tseu, and Anadi Holder teamed up to secure the bronze. That was McConney’s second bronze as he also finished third in the Kumite.
In the boys, 12 to 15 Kai Alleyne, Ronaldo Gill, and Ajani Layne won gold for Barbados in the Kata and Enbu with a tabulation of 29.0 and 25.7 points respectively. However, they were second best with a total of 25.8 points in team Bunkai after initially being tied on 25.6 with eventual winners Ethan Ramsundar, Sameer Ali and Dominic Lue-Fatt of Trinidad and Tobago scoring 26.1 a second time compared to 25.8 by the local squad. Layne then earned himself gold for Barbados in the boys 11 to 13 Kumite while his teammate Obrian Griffth took bronze behind silver medallist Jayen Shah of Canada.
Barbados’ female and male over-50s team seemed to have a liking for Bunkai as both teams captured gold in that particular competition. The women held two gold medals having tallied 25.2 compliments Norman Springer, Charmaine Thompson and Roseanne Hermanstein doing the Bunkai, and they were also unstoppable in the Enbu scoring 25.2 yet again.
The men tabulated 25.6 to clinch the Bunkai title through Martin King, Winston Mascoll and James Marshall. Unfortunately, those three scored 25.5 in the team Enbu as they were unable to stop Marc Boismenu, Carl Wilson and Chris Troch of Canada with a winning score of 25.6 points.