Young karate stars making their mark

Win: Jamie Jovanovski, Zayn Timev, Aiden Obeid, Daniel Trajanovski, Mason Horsley, Sophie Lee-Smith, Daniel Strehaljuk, Emily Strehaljuk.
Win: Jamie Jovanovski, Zayn Timev, Aiden Obeid, Daniel Trajanovski, Mason Horsley, Sophie Lee-Smith, Daniel Strehaljuk, Emily Strehaljuk.

ILLAWARRA Kyokushin Karate has left its mark on the national stage, returning from the Australian championships with a swag of titles this week.

The dojo took 14 competitors to the titles, ranging from ages eight to 16, and brought home seven first places, three second places and one third.

The total of 11 titles is one of the most successful for the Unanderra-based gym.

Zayn Timev continued his recent dominance of his age division, winning the boys 12-14 years 60 kilogram-plus division, his fourth first place in his age group in as many years. It was part of a sweep of the division for the team, with Daniel Strehaljuk finishing second and Mason Horsley picking up third.

In other results, Daniel Trajanovski claimed the 16 years boys colts title while Jasmine Markovski was first in the 16 years girls. Jamie Jovanovski was first in the 14 years girls while Emily Strehaljuk was first in the 12 years girls division.

Lucas Markovski was second in the boys 12 years division while Aiden Obeid was first in the Boys 11-12 years class and Sophie Lee Smith finished first in the 11 years girls division 

Addison Hough was second in the girls 9-10 years division while Caleb Palmer, Layla Flynt and Sam Adams all performed strongly.

The dedicated team train under the tutelage of coaches Viktor Timev, Shane Cunliffe and Jason Baltov, with Timev saying the results were a reward for the team’s dedication to the art.

“It’s a national tournament so it’s a really good result for us to field 14 competitors and come away with 11 titles,” Timev said.

“There were more than 100 competitors in each division and we picked up something in every one we entered. In the boys 12-14s over 60-kilo we won first, second, third.

“We’re a fighting dojo, we teach karate for a competitive environment. All the kids we’ve got competing are solid competitors so they’ve been at it for the last three to five years.

“We live by the philosophy that, if you’re not competing, you're not grading, you’re not moving forward and you're not testing yourself in the true element of karate.”

The team will now turn their attention to competing at the world titles in Japan in April 2018.

“Every kid that competes in the national tournament has the chance to go to Japan through our dojo,” Timev said.

“Over the next few months we’ll keep training, see how they go, and take a select group over. It’s a different ball-game over there.

“It's a world event and the competition is just unreal between all the nations that compete so we’ve got a lot of training ahead.”