KARATE: It was a sea of white gi’s as 145 competitors crammed into the Yeppoon State School’s gymnasium for the Shotokan karate International Australia National Championships.

Competitors from four age groups competed in individual and team kata and kumite.

Chief referee Ryan Van Leent was among the ­interstate cohort to make the journey to the Cap Coast for the event.

He said the event was one of the largest on the Australian karate calendar.

“This is our national karate championships, which we do annually,” he said.

“It’s preceded by the national seminar.

“The national seminar ­involved a range of activities, including four days of training and black belt examinations which began last Wednesday.

Both the seminar and championships were attended by high-ranking Japanese teachers, Nobuaki Kanazawa Kancho and Ryushu Suzuki Sensei.

Kanazawa Kancho heads the SKIA Association.

On Saturday, competitors took to the floor after their half week of training for the ­national championships.

Van Leent said Queensland and Central Queensland had a strong presence at the event.

“Because the event has been run in Queensland, of course Queensland has the hometown advantage — the majority is from Queensland, next is New South Wales,” he said.

“Each year we have a shield for the best state performance and this year it will be contested, I think, between Queensland and New South Wales.

“There has been a big turnout from Central Queensland — a good proportion of competitors are from Central Queensland.”

Results will be available later this week.

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