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Karate athletes qualify for national championship
Taneda Karate Dojo is sending four athletes to the Karate Canada National Championships in Richmond Jan.17-19.
Of the four, Jackson Tribe and Will Wright are of Penticton. It will be the third appearance for Tribe. In 2012, he placed third and the next year won gold in his kumite division.
Wright will be competing in his second national championships. Last year, he had a top-five finish and is focused on making the podium this year. Coach Mike Ditson said Wright has shown a lot of improvement since last year and has one more year of experience competing at the top level under his belt.
Ditson said he avoids putting pressure on any athletes.
"I'm expecting him (Tribe) to be in the final again," he said, adding there is no pressure on Wright to make a final.
"To be in the medals would be great for him," said Ditson.
Matt Tanedia and Rhiannon Jones of Westbank are the other two competing. Taneda is competing in his first nationals since 2007, but is his fifth time. Over the last few years, Taneda has spent time training in Japan and has done mixed martial arts, including training with Kelowna UFC star Rory MacDonald. Jones will be competing in her first national event. Ditson said she is an exceptionally talented athlete and musician and plays flute for the Kelowna Youth Symphony and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
The athletes are joined by Ditson and Sensei Chris Taneda. Sensei Taneda will be attending in the role of technical committee member and will be part of the grading panel for Karate Canada black belt gradings.
To compete in this event, the four athletes had to first qualify at the regional level, then provincial level and compete at a B.C. team selection tournament. Only the top two athletes in each division get to represent B.C. at the nationals.