‘We took on Europe’s finest’

Sensei’s pride as karate aces achieve medal haul in Luxembourg

Thursday, 1st November 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Veras Karate Squad

The squad from the Veras Academy pose for a quick snap with Senseis Marco Correia, Raphael Veras and Patience Kakitie at the Coupe Internationale de Kayl karate competition in Luxembourg

SENSEI Raphael Veras said he was “incredibly proud” of all his young martial artists after they took the Coupe Internationale de Kayl by storm.

Raphael, who is now in Hong Kong helping their national team prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, joked that “notching up all the air miles” was well worth it after seeing his squad from the Veras Academy finish second out of 61 associations at the karate competition in Luxembourg.

“We took on some of the finest karatekas from across Europe and we ­certainly didn’t disappoint,” he beamed. “This is what the squad have been training for.

“Each and every member of the squad put in the time and effort required to perfect their skills and this competition was the best place for them to demonstrate this. I am incredibly proud of each of my athletes, each of them showed what they’re capable of and they did it with impeccable sportsmanship.”

Sensei Raphael Veras with Jaydon Sullivan, Richard Reinhaus and Matas Staponas, who all won bronze medals at the Coupe Internationale de Kayl

Those efforts saw the Veras Academy team return to their home dojo at the Ringcross Community Centre, in Holloway, Islington, boasting a mighty medal haul.

Their youngest competitor, Maggie Gentili-Walsh, aged seven, started the ball rolling by ­winning a bronze medal in her Under-8s kata, an event in which competitors are judged on choreographed patterns of movement. She quickly added a second bronze, this time in the Under-8s +26kg kumite, a form of combat.

The medals came thick and fast on day one, with Keziah Daily-Brown, 11, winning gold in the -40kg kumite, Nevaeh Thomas-Birch, 11, winning gold in the kata and a bronze in -35kg kumite, and Jack Gentili-Walsh, 11, winning silver in the -35kg kumite.

Veras golden girl Lulu Brown (centre) wins her kumite competition

Brothers Liam Veras, 13, and Luca, 11, also made the podium, winning gold in their respective -40kg kumite events and bronze in their kata competitions. Day one also saw Bruno Reis, 13, strike silver in his -45kg kumite event.

On the second day of the tournament, which was held on October 20 and 21, Lulu Brown, 14, won a gold medal in the Under-16s -47kg kumite, while Matas Staponas, 14, fought in the merged -55kg and -57kg category, winning a bronze medal.

Meanwhile, in the ­senior ranks, Jaydon ­Sullivan and Richard Reinhaus both won bronze in the -75kg kumite, with ­Jaydon also going on to win a silver medal in the Under-21s category.

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