22nd World Karate Championships
5-8th November 2014
World Top 8 for Aimee
Aimee departed for Germany on Sunday with the rest of the England squad heading for Bremen to take part in the 22nd Senior World Karate Championships. For Aimee, this was the first time she had been chosen to represent England at Senior level in an individual category so she was determined to seize the opportunity and establish herself at senior level.
Aimee was also competing in the Team Kata event too with her teammates, Melissa and Natalie, who had had their very first outing as the senior female Kata team when they competed at the last Worlds in Paris. So this was a good opportunity to gauge their progress.
The competition was being held over a number of days, Wednesday to Friday were the elimination rounds for all events, individual, teams, Kata and Kumite. Saturday and Sunday were reserved for the medal rounds, both repechage and main finals.
Female Senior Kata
The first day of competition, Wednesday, started off with the individual Kata, male and female elimination rounds. No chance to soak up any of the competition atmosphere, it was straight into action as the opening event to the World Championships. With nearly 60 competitors competing, the category was split into two pools with Aimee drawn in pool two competing on mat 4 at the far end of the stadium. Facing Vanessa Fabbri from San Marino in her opening round, Aimee had been drawn red and performed her Kata, Annan, first. Her opponent followed Aimee performing Unsu. A great start for Aimee as she won the round 5 flags to 0.
Now into the 2nd round Aimee faced the talented Croatian, Vlatka Kiuk. Vlatka, red, performed a strong and sharp Goju Shiho Dai Kata with Aimee responding with her own strong and sharp performance of Suparinpai. Another excellent result for Aimee winning the round 5 flags to 0 once again.
The draw for the third round looked tough on paper with her possibly facing the 2012 World bronze medallist, Sakura Kokumai, from the USA. However, the American was beaten in the previous round by Bulgarian, Gergana Vitanova who now faced Aimee instead. Both competitors chose to perform Chatanyara Kushanku with Aimee up first setting the standard for her opponent to follow. Fortunately for Aimee, the standard was high as she secured a 4 flags to 1 victory to see her through to the quarter-finals.
The 4th round now pitted Aimee against Japan's Kiyou Shimizu, the current U21yrs World Champion and who had beaten Aimee at the Junior Worlds last year. Facing Shimizu, Aimee performed Unshu with her opponent performing Annan. It was a bridge too far for Aimee as she lost out 5 flags to 0. Shimizu won the next round to make the final, which she inevitably won in dominating fashion, but that meant Aimee was in the repechage rounds.
Shimizu had knocked out a number of good opponents on her way to the final including the current European Champion, Italy's Viviana Bottara. Aimee had expected to face her in the repechage semi-final match but she had just lost to the powerful Mexican, Xatzi Trujillo. Aimee had to stick with her game plan and perform Nipaipo against the Mexican who performed Paiku Kata. The flags were 4-1 in favour of her opponent and Aimee had narrowly missed the chance to compete in the repechage final for the bronze medal which was being held on the Sunday. So close.
So Aimee finished 7th place overall, in her first individual outing representing England as a senior, and at a World Championship too. Amazing Aimee had now become the first female to achieve a placing at a senior World Championships since the flag system was introduced by the WKF back in 2002. What an amazing achievement from the young 19 year old. History in the making again.
Senior Female Team Kata
The next day, Thursday, was the Team Kata elimination rounds, held about 5:00pm in the evening following some of the disability Kata events. There were two pools for the Female Team Kata event with Aimee and her teammates, Melissa and Natalie, in pool 1 drawn with some big names like Japan, Vietnam, Turkey and their nemesis team Belarus (who were their 1st round opponents) in the pool.
The team had faced the Belarusian team three times previously and each time had narrowly lost out, so this, for the team, was more than just a 1st round encounter, it was a chance gain some revenge and finally beat the Belarusian team. Both teams opted to perform Chatanyara Kushanku, so the judging would be down to pure execution of the performance. Belarus were drawn red and performed first with team England following. As predicted it was a close call but the decision finally went England's way with the team claiming the narrow 3 flags to 2 victory. A huge boost for the young team who had won a round in team Kata at a World Championships over some tough opponents.
Up next for the team was Turkey. Team England performed an excellent Suparinpai Kata, powerful and perfectly synced. The Turkish ladies performed Chatanyara Kushanku, not as well controlled or synced but still good. The decision went against England 5 flags to 0 which was a shock, not only to Aimee and her teammates, but also to many of the spectators. Still at a loss to fathom out that result. The Turkish team faced Japan in the next round and understandably lost out 5-0 leaving England outside of the repechage rounds. Shame as the English ladies did very well, not only winning a round at the Worlds, but also beating a main rival. Plenty for the team to take away and build upon.
And there the participation ended for Aimee, now just a spectator and supporter for the remainder of the championships but plenty of memories to reflect on.