Hackney karate club win record medal haul at Ipswich tournament

Members of Olympic Karate

Members of Olympic Karate - Credit: Archant

Hackney-based Olympic Karate head coach Tyrone Jeffers has revealed his huge sense of pride after leading the club’s national squad to a record medal haul at the EKKA Karate Challenge Championships in Ipswich on Sunday.

The London Fields karate school eclipsed last year’s success by returning to east London with a total of 24 medals from a number of categories, including kata-forms and kumite-free fighting.

Jeffers, a black belt fifth Dan, spoke of his elation at seeing so many pupils excel on a regional stage, as Hackney children between the ages of seven and 14 left East Anglia with eight golds, six silver and 10 bronze places.

“This was the last championship of the year and the kids knew it,” Jeffers, 42, told the Gazette. “We did a lot of preparation and training gearing up for the event, and it’s great that all those extra classes paid off.

“I would like to thank all my coaching staff for the brilliant work they have done, not forgetting the parents for their continued support.”

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Bruno Batalha, 14, secured two gold medals, in the boys kumite and pairs team kumite open free-fighting categories respectively, and Olympic were also celebrating first place in the pairs team kata open, as Omar Taiti and Cian Wharton joined forces to devastating effect.

Elsewhere, 10-year-old Zan Rodgers scooped two gold medals from the girls kumite and Japanese kata mixed, while seven-year-old Keziah Daley Brown showed immense maturity in picking up gold and silver placings from the same categories in her age group.

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With classes taught in Hackney, Newham, Stratford and a new school opening in Chingford next February, Jeffers stressed that under his tutelage parents can expect more than just the nurturing of karate talent in their children.

“Not every karate club is like ours,” Jeffers added. “We’re not just about the kicks and punches; it’s about teaching the kids discipline and education. We don’t want to take over from what the schools are doing, but we aim to help them in teaching kids certain things when it comes to education.

“We like to surprise them with general knowledge questions. When some of the kids started with us, they were very quiet and introvert, and their parents have seen them grow in confidence through our classes.

“We don’t close the door to anyone. If we have bad kids, our job as instructors is to find out the root cause of the problem, and to help that child.”

Jeffers spoke of the domino effect of children returning to schools with medals draped around their necks, leading to two or three children wishing to following the lead of their classmates by taking up the discipline every week.

“Children wonder if there is a karate class around the corner, and as a result, we have seen the numbers pick up greatly. Most classes contain two instructors plus a senior student who would assist with the classes, teaching the pupils basic techniques and how to count to 10 in Japanese, part of the karate curriculum.”

Olympic Karate Inc are based at Queensbridge Sport and Community Centre on Holly Street and welcome children from as young as five. For more information on enrolling your child, contact Tyrone Jeffers on 07951 534 775 or visit www.olympic-karate-inc.co.uk

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