WKF 8th World Junior Championships - 7-10th November 2013
Aimee Sell - U21 yrs World Kata Bronze Medallist
Karate Girl Aimee Sell travelled to Guadalajara, Spain, with the rest of the England Karate squad on Saturday morning, 2nd November, to compete in the WKF World Junior Championships. The squad arrived a few days earlier than usual to allow some intense pre-training shortly before taking to the mats. Aimee had worked hard in training up to this point, she was looking sharp, focused and well prepared. These last few days were to allow Aimee to stay sharp and ready.
Aimee had competed in the two last World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2011 where she had lost out both times 3 flags to 2 in very close calls. Always competing at the bottom of the age category in the Cadet's and Junior's previously, there was a even bigger age margin here as Aimee only turned 18 years old in June and was now up against 18, 19 and 20 year olds in this U21yrs category. Even being one of the youngest in the category, Aimee was full of confidence knowing she had the potential to medal, it all depended on the draws and her own ability.
The Competition - Female Kata U21yrs
In an alarmingly tough draw, Aimee had drawn K Shimizi of Japan in the first round. Shimizu was the current Junior World Champion winning gold in Malaysia two years ago, she is also World University champion and certainly here champion elect. Just above Aimee and Shimizu in the draw was Croatia versus M Morata representing host nation, Spain. M Morata is the treble European Champion who had beaten Aimee in the European final in February earlier this year. So Aimee was potentially facing the current World Junior Champion and Current European Junior Champion in her opening rounds. It doesn't get much tougher than that!
So the first round saw Aimee facing Japan. Aimee first up on the mat performed Paiku Kata, a good, strong, sharp performance. Japan's K Shimizu performed Kosokun-Sho, really sharp and snappy performance. As predicted, 5 blue flags signalled a win for Japan, which was the pattern of the day as K Shimizu won round after round winning the pool final against Czech Republic to finally make the showcase evening final where she would face Slovakia's D Balciarova.
With Japan in the final, Aimee was in the repechage rounds where she had the chance to compete for bronze. Expecting to face Morata from Spain, Morata had made a slight mistake in her opening round against Croatia's M Polenus and completely unexpectedly found herself losing out in her opening round. Croatia went through to face Sweden's M.Karlsson in the 2nd round but lost out. Sweden then lost out to K Shimizu in round 3 leaving Sweden in repechage facing the winner of Aimee versus Bosnia in the repechage 1st round.
As Aimee was first competitor in the repechage rounds, she would be Aka (red) and due to perform first in each repechage round, So now facing A Adilovic from Bosnia in her opening repechage round instead of Spain, Aimee had been warming up and practicing Nipaipo to perform against her. Aimee and coach Jonathan Mottram entered the arena and waited by the tatami mat for her opponent. There was a short delay and the Bosnian failed to show. Aimee was awarded the win.
Aimee walked back out of the arena and almost immediately back in to face Sweden's M Karlsson. Aimee instantly switched from her Nipaipo Kata choice for what was technically Aimee's 2nd round repechage round match. Aimee up first performed a technically excellent and strong Annan Kata. In reply, Sweden performed Shito-ryu's highest ranked Kata, Suparinpei. Holding breath... the flag s went up 4 red, 1 blue. Aimee had safely negotiated two rounds of repechage so far.
The repechage 3rd round saw Aimee now face TH Nguyen from Vietnam. Vietnam have a good track record at world championships boasting a former senior world champion so this was to be a real test with both girls opting to perform the same Kata, Chatanyara Kushanku and simply the best performance winning. Aimee was as usual up first and performed this Kata excellently, one of her best performances. Vietnam followed, then the wait for the decision. Four flags to 1 once again, to Aimee.
The 4th repechage round was the repechage final, this was the match for a world medal. No pressure. Aimee faced V Miskova representing Czech Republic in the bronze medal match after V Miskova lost to Japan in the pool final. V Miskova was looking sharp and strong and justified her place in the repechage final but Aimee had also looked unstoppable and possibly more tactically aware as she had saved Suparinpei for this final with Czech Republic performing Paiku. Aimee once again took to the mat and confidently performed her Kata and then stepped back awaiting her opponent to complete her final Kata. This was it, the many, many hours of hard work, training, sacrifice, all down to this one moment. Four RED flags, one BLUE. Aimee had done it.
After losing out in the 1st round, Aimee had come all the way through repechage, round after round, doing it the hard way to win a World Bronze Medal.
This is only the second time a bronze medal in Kata at World level has ever been won by someone from England, with Aimee being the youngest to do so. Aimee has now won 4 European medals and 1 World medal making Aimee the most decorated junior female in Kata.
Would like to thank England National Kata Coach Jonathan Mottram for the belief and faith.
Would like to thank Kaze Northern Europe for supplying the best Karate Kata Gi, Kaze Rebel.
Would also like to thank everyone who supported and believed in Aimee.