At the event in Akita we arranged entry and accommodation for 22 active competitors and 9 additional spectators. We had BAA representation in each competitive event and the team on the whole was full of exuberant youth!
17 members attended both events which were held only a week apart, some with only 48 hours recovery before flying to Japan.
Whilst in Japan we are thankful to Keiko Konaka for inviting the team to an international junior development day whilst in Tokyo in which Inoue san did some coaching at.
This was well attended and the junior members took a great deal of inspiration from it as well as meeting and training with other juniors from all over the world.
With specific regard to the JAA event, we have a huge thank you to pay to Mr Yuji Oshige who we liaised with for over 18 months in which we had many challenges with the entry following serious injuries to a number of key players in the squad. Arrival in Tazawako in the Akita
province of Japan was a feat in itself and we can only extend our warmest gratitude to the players who made the trip.
It was always going to be a difficult task going to the JAA event without any BAA officials and the kata was judged in the same way as Kawasaki, a blind score by a panel.
Despite these challenges it would be fair to say the team performed exceptionally. After an agonising 24 hour wait it was announced Andrew Rigby and Scott Pearce made it into the final and subsequently won Silver medals in both of their Kata events the Junanahon and Goshin no Kata.
The women and kongo teams sadly had premature exits from their events having come up against strong JAA first teams in early rounds however the mens first team had an exceptional run. Beating 2 strong JAA teams in the semi final and final was an incredible feat especially given the different style of refereeing the team had experienced the week before at the WSAF event. The team adapted incredibly with a stand out performance from hero Paul Myhill winning the fourth bout from a losing position with a Gedan ate ippon taking the semi final to a deciding fight.
Reflecting London, Paul Carr and Fred Kamara both made it to the bronze medal play off in the individual randori, with Fred taking the upper hand at this outing. It was amazing to see youngsters Milly Bolton and Charlotte Jenner progressing into the later stages of the women’s randori however Laura managed to unify world titles and win her 5th World title against young Japanese opposition in the final.
The JAA event was well attended. The official numbers advertised were factually incorrect as many competitors listed were either spectators or not present in Akita but left on the competitor list. Anecdotally we would say competition numbers for the individual and team randori events was similar to the WSAF events with overall probably less kata pairs entered.
On the whole the trip to Japan was a huge success in terms of winning medals under tough conditions. We connected with a number of new clubs and a lot of juniors had a fantastic experience competing in Japan for the first time. The BAA national team are now preparing to take a squad to the Open European Event in The Netherlands before pushing on towards the next WSAF event in San Diego.
Views the 2017 Results from International.