WKF Karate1 Premier League - Paris - 23-25th January 2015
Well the first Karate1 Premier League event took place in the famous Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris, France, over the weekend of 23-25th January 2015. The format was the same as last year with the competition was split over three days instead of the usual two, although the timing was slightly different. This was to allow the finals to be filmed on the final day, Sunday, as Karate is hugely popular in France. The Kata competitors had to register Friday morning and compete Friday afternoon and evening. With the finals on Sunday, this meant for a long weekend for some to stay and watch the finals.
The championships had 929 entries from 68 nations this year, a massive for a senior only event and even bigger than last year.
The Premier League event is massive, it's like an open world championships, except instead of the best competitor from WKF member countries, here you get the top three or four! For that very reason, this could be considered even harder than the European or World Championships, and it was.
Karate girl Aimee Sell travelled down to Paris on Thursday to compete in the Female Senior Kata event being run the following day on Friday in the afternoon. The successful medal contenders were to return on Sunday for the finals, which unfortunately didn't include Aimee.
Aimee travelled on Eurostar to Paris on Thursday and arrived at the HQ hotel the next day to register meeting up with some fellow England squad members and club teammates who were also competing.
A short walk to the stadium in the afternoon ready to compete.
There were 90, yes ninety, competitors in the female Kata category with some top competitors there to compete. The final had the usual predictable Japanese representative, this time it was Emiri Iwamoto, who went on to claim gold over Sandra Sanchez representing UAE. Yet there were also some early upsets with local French favourite and World Silver medallist, Sandy Scordo losing out in the opening round!
Aimee herself was drawn at the top of pool 2 out of 4 and without a bye was soon in action as she faced her opening round opponent, Francesca Crippa from Italy. Aimee being red performed her Kata, Paiku, first with her opponent who was blue opting to perform the same Kata. A good start for Aimee as she won the round 5 flags to 0.
The next round Aimee faced a tough opponent from Hong Kong, Mo-Sheung-Grace Lau, who like Aimee placed 7th n the Senior World Championships last year. Aimee was red once more and performed Chatanyara Kushanku. Lau also performed the same Kata but unfortunately, Lau was the winner securing all flags. Lau went through to win the pool final but lost the semi-final to Japan leaving Aimee out of the repechage rounds. Lau went on to win repechage and claim bronze so no disgrace for Aimee being knocked out by an excellent competitor on the day.
As usual these competitions are tough and provide a great opportunity for Aimee to compete against and watch the best in the world of Karate. So although no medal, Aimee is on the Karate1 ranking list and has come away with some more great experiences for her.
Aimee is now back in training for the Junior Europeans, her next challenge.