Sophie Powell's World Championship experience
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by Elly Hanna — No comments
Final Update: KSI World Championships 2018
Now that I have had a few weeks to recuperate, I thought I would take some to time to reflect on my trip to Stockholm for the KSI World Karate Championships a few weeks ago.
After months of preparation, the squad finally arrived in Sweden on Monday 16th July 2018 after a 4am start from Oldbury that morning! After settling into our hotel room in the Globen complex, we were then given the afternoon off to prepare for the busy week ahead.
On Tuesday, we were up early for a training session with our SKF England Coaches and Instructors which was a combination of light sparring and kata practice. We were then given the rest of the day off and headed into old Stockholm to do some sightseeing – this involved a walk around the royal palace ground, a boat trip in the sunshine and even being dragged on some rollercoaster rides by the kids at Gröna Lund… much to my dismay!
Wednesday was the day of the World Chief Instructors Course where we were taught four hours of techniques, sparring and even a new kata by the four 9th Dan World Chief Instructors. The day started nicely with the tournament opening ceremony and walk-on where all representatives from the competing countries lined up and listened to some inspirational speeches from the Chief Shihans and championship organisers.
Thursday was the first day of competition - the Kata and Veteran Kumite Events. The day started with the Ladies Team Kata for which I was the reserve team member should anyone get injured during the competition. After passing the earlier rounds, the ladies narrowly lost to South Africa in the Semi-Finals but managed to claim the Bronze Medal for the four of us in the end! I competed in my individual kata event later that day, after a long days wait. I comfortably won my first round 3 flags to 0 against a competitor from the South Africa; however, next up was the current European (and now current World Champion) from Sweden and despite giving it my best shot I lost 3 flags to 0. I was, however, fortunate enough to re-enter in the repecharge but again lost 3 flags to 0 for the bronze medal against a German competitor.
Friday was the kumite day when all of the other individual and team fighting events were taking place. My first event was on at 11am which was the ladies heavyweight kumite event. My fight was the first up in the category and unfortunately I lost 4-3 to a competitor from the Swedish Team. On this occasion, I did not get a chance to enter into the repecharge so was out of the running and had to get my focus together for the team fighting event later in the day. At 5pm, the ladies team kumite kicked off; the team kumite is a “best of three” event but as we entered as a two person team, we essentially had to win both of our fights in order to claim a victory. After getting a bi in the first round, up first was South Africa A; I won my fight relatively comfortably 5 points to 3 then my teammate also won which meant we progressed to the next round. Up next was USA, and despite my teammate winning her fight again very comfortably, I couldn’t quite get the victory in mine and lost 4-3 meaning we just narrowly missed out on a place in the world championship finals. We ended the day with the fight against Sweden for the bronze medal and again my teammate won comfortably, despite a bad knee injury I might add! It was then up to me to win and, after a nervous start, I eventually won 6 points to 4 after giving it my all!
The final day, therefore, was a relaxing one for me and I got to support all my fellow England Squad Members who had made the kata and kumite finals before picking up my two bronze medals later that day which was an incredibly proud moment for me!
Above all, during this time of reflection, I want to say thanks to everyone who got me to this point – a point where I could not only represent my country doing the sport I love but also come home with two bronze medals from my first world karate championships in 10 years! Without the sponsorship of Venn Group, I genuinely would not have been able to afford to go to Sweden and do all of the essential training required as a member of the SKF England Squad – so their support has honestly meant the world to me and I cannot thank them enough. The same goes for my instructors, coaches and teammates at both SKF England and SKF Portway – all those 8am training sessions, long hot squad training weekends, courses and competitions finally paid off! Up next for me is the SKF Kimura Cup National Championships in September and then several other courses and competitions before I (hopefully) head of to Portugal for the KSI European Championships in October next year! Watch this Space!
Sophie Powell, Senior Consultant - Public Sector Finance