Austrian Junior Karate Open - 16th June 2012
Outside terrace of Guest House
Aimee with England's Alex Gardiner
Aimee with Denmark's Rikke Linck
Aimee on podium with medallists
Junior 16-17yrs Champion
Friday 15th June 2012 saw Karate Girl, Aimee Sell, fly out to Salzburg to compete in the Junior Austrian Open Karate Championships. This was one of the first internationals Aimee competed in when she was 10 years old gaining a silver back then. It wasn’t just the organisation of the competition, the tough opponents or that international buzz and feel you get from a foreign competition that drew Aimee back year after year, no, the hotels and guest houses are 5 minutes away from the airport by taxi, the venue is also only 5 minutes away from most hotels, Salzburg is a beautiful city to visit and many of the traditional guest houses are typically picturesque Austrian chalets with breathtaking views. All of these factors combined make this is one of the nicest and enjoyable competitions to attend.
Aimee stayed in a lovely traditional Austrian Guesthouse/Hotel a few minutes away from the sports hall. The guesthouse was a favourite with many of the other competitors and a popular stop-off on the tourist route making it busy in the outside terraces where everyone basked in the 30 degrees Austrian sunshine eating massive ice creams. Aimee met up with one of her friends, Rikke Linck from Denmark who was also competing in Aimee’s category, rivals but good friends and both families spent the evening dining together.
The competition itself was being held over two days, Saturday and Sunday with Aimee’s category being held on the Saturday, Aimee’s birthday too. This was Aimee’s 7th time here at this competition and it has grown year upon year. Initially it was held on a single day but as the numbers have grown over the years, so has the format developed. The competition has been held over two days for a few years now and this year full WKF rules were applied to the WKF categories. That will teach Aimee to read the paperwork in future! The sports venue has also developed to cater for the increase in numbers with the addition of stalls outside the venue and extra refreshment areas, maybe a knock-on from the new Karate1 Premier League event that is held there now.
Female Junior 16-17yrs Kata
Saturday, competition day, Aimee’s birthday. The category had fielded a high-class line-up featuring many top national representatives from Austria, Denmark, England, Luxembourg, Italy and Switzerland, so this was always going to be a tough competition from the start.
After approximately 15-20 minuets of warming up her first Kata for the day, Nipaipo, the organisers reminded the competitors that WKF rules were being used which meant performing WKF compulsory Katas in the first two rounds. Oops!!!. Another few minutes of warm-up before the second pool of the Female Junior 16-17 years Kata category started allowed Aimee just enough time to run through one of her compulsory Katas, Seienchin.
The 1st round pitted Aimee against Denmark’s Sofie Wulff-Kampmann. Aimee performed her first compulsory Kata, Bassai-Dai with her opponent performing Jion Kata. The judges voted 4 flags to 1 in favour of Aimee who progressed into the next round.
The 2nd round saw Aimee perform her second compulsory Kata, Seienchin, against her opponent, Julia Priewasser from home nation Austria. Julia performed another Jion Kata against Aimee but this time all 5 judges voted Aimee’s way securing her a 5-0 win.
The 3rd round pitted Aimee against Switzerland’s National Junior representative, Melinda Mark who represented her country at the last Junior European Championships, so this was going to be a tougher round on paper. Melinda first up performed a good Annan Kata and Aimee opted to match her Kata and perform Annan herself. A good choice from Aimee as she once again secured a 5-0 win with the judges going her way.
In the semi-final Aimee faced another one of Switzerland’s National Junior representatives, Valerie Will, who represented Switzerland at the Junior World Championships and previous Junior European Championships, another very tough round. Valerie performed a sharp Goju Shiho Dai Kata but Aimee’s performance of Chatanyara Kushanku was too strong helping her to gain all 5 flags once more. Both Swiss representatives, Valerie and Melinda, met in the repechage final which saw Melinda pip Valerie for bronze with Aimee’s friend Rikke securing the other bronze for Denmark.
In the final, held after the repechage bronze medal positions had been concluded, Aimee faced pool one winner, Oceane DaCosta from Luxembourg, another strong opponent and another regular national representative at Junior World and European Championships.
Ocean performed Unsu Kata with Aimee following performing Suparinpei Kata. Aimee’s performance was very sharp and precise and the judges voted 5-0 in Aimee’s favour securing her the Junior Austrian Open title. Aimee has now won the Junior Austrian Open an amazing SIX times in succession which is a truly remarkable feat.
The organisers played a few bars of the winners’ national anthem as they were presented with their medals whist on the podium which was a nice touch to round off a good day. After collecting her medal, she stayed to watch some of her fellow countrymen and friends compete before heading back to the guesthouse for some birthday celebrations (well an extremely large ice cream) before returning home the next day.
Well done and HAPPY BIRTHDAY.