The local Shogun Dojo karate club continues to show that it is possible to produce excellent athletes outside of the large urban centers.
Out of four karate athletes who travelled to Ottawa for the recent Nationals tryouts in karate and kickboxing, four were qualified to attend the upcoming 2017 World Championships in Orlando, Florida.
“All of the students performed to my satisfaction, they gave 110% of what I expected,” said Shogun coach Marwan Abu Khadra, also on the national coaching staff.
The world qualifiers included Ben Glanz, with a silver medal in speed fighting, a silver in continuous fighting and a silver medal in boys 10 years and under 35kg; Thomas Glanz with a bronze in continuous fighting in boys 12-13 years over 50kg; Karim Abu Khadra with a silver and a bronze medal in 15-17 under 65 kg; and Tareq Abu Khadra with a pair of silver medals.
“Ben deserved his placing. The gold medalist had more experience on him in both continuous and speed fighting,” said Khadra.
Thomas Glanz fight through to finals was very tough but made his points in his continuous fights.
“That was his best performance but he still has to improve and needs more training to get to a higher level,” said Khadra.
Karim Abu Khadra fought very well in continuous but, according to his coach, the judging left something to be desired.
“The loss to the fighter from Newfoundland was not justified. I think he deserved silver or even gold. In speed or point fighting, Karim had extremely good tactical fighting, so his silver medal was well deserved, especially because Karim had changed to a higher age group and weight class,” he said.
“Tareq also moved up a category from boys to men, which puts a lot of pressure on him in both disciplines. Nevertheless, also here in continuous, they were pretty close fights, ” he said.
That said, Marwan had some questions about the accuracy of the judging in some of those contests.
“Some people asked me is this an opinion because it is my kid or my student? After his opponents accidental blow to Tareq’s head, the other fighter should have had a minus point, which should have cost him the the gold medal,” he said.
“Sure I am always for my student first but I am also very objective and fair. As a national coach, I am also allowed to criticize misjudging or inexperienced judging. In fact, I had a guest on my side from England who had given a seminar that weekend and he, the national coach of England, agreed that it should have been a different outcome,” said Marwan.
At any rate, Marwan feels that they need to train harder and adjust tactics to be more convincing and judge-oriented.
In his point fighting, Tareq faced the 18-time world champion.
“With this kind of pressure, you need to be first in best form and very focused. Tareq was both, but did not have that experience,” said Marwan.
In the first round Tareq lost in a surprising sudden-death situation. Marwan feels that it made his opponent think of what just happened to him — almost losing his fight to a newcomer.
In his second fight the next day, Tareq lost 8 to 1.
“He was clearly beaten. His opponent had time enough to regroup and to think and to change strategy. It was a super fight,” said Marwan.
“We are looking forward to the worlds in Orlando. We need lots of training and hard work. Money is also an issue. If someone or any company would support us, it would be very helpful and appreciated,” he said.
– Submitted article