KARATE: Rockhampton’s Nihon Shotokan Dojo has once again dominated the World Titles SKIA Australian karate team, with 11 out of 44 members hailing from Sensei Peter Harth’s Berserker dojo.
The team has been focused, throwing themselves into twice-a-day training for six days a week since Christmas.
Their eyes are on the prize: performing against up to 1000 of the world’s best in the triennial World Titles on July 19-21 in the Czech Republic.
Riley Glennen, 20, will be stepping up into the Under 75kg Open Division this year, and is determined to come home with a medal after just missing out on bronze at the Jakarta World Titles in 2016.
“It’s been a goal of mine since I got my purple belt,” he said.
“It’s my first Open event at this level. I’ve gone from being the oldest in my previous division to one of the youngest in the Opens.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to the challenge.
“Karate is a select sport so you tend to fight the same people so I’m looking forward to fighting people from other countries and learning a few more tricks.”
Rebecca Harris, 21, will also be stepping up to Opens after receiving a bronze in her Kata in 2013.
“I will just be relaxing, not over-thinking everything, taking in the atmosphere and reminding myself that I’ve prepared and that my muscle memory will kick in with my techniques,” she said.
“It’s such an experience. It’s wonderful to get the opportunity to go up against so many different countries.
“I really love the element of respect that karate has. You learn respect for your dojo, your Sensei, yourself and your peers.
“It’s a wonderful, beautiful sport.”
Queensland coach Jason Scriffignano will be joining the team overseas for the 13th World Titles and said Rockhampton’s consistently high number of athletes within the SKIA Australian team is a reflection of the high level of coaching and talent within the region.
“We’re lucky we have Sensei Peter Harth, who was previously the Australian coach for many years. He’s the best coach and produces the best students,” Scriffignano said.
“We have a really good contingent of possibilities for medals this year.
“These guys are well and truly world class athletes. They all won medals and places at last October’s Australian Titles on the Gold Coast, which was a start to making this team.
“They’ve had to perform in consecutive competitions and train with the rest of the national team and show they’re improving because they can be dropped at any time.”
Sensei Peter Harth said he was “very proud” of the team, and that he and the rest of the club’s member swill be cheering them on from Rockhampton when they head over.
“They’ve put in a lot of hard work and they should be proud of their efforts,” he said.
“Even if they don’t medal, it’s a huge achievement to make the World Titles. Sometimes you have to go several times before you start being successful.
“Everyone is a winner. It doesn’t matter what the results are, they’ve all won just by getting there.
“It’s a big tick for a regional city (to make up such a large part of the Australian team) and something we’re very proud of.”
Rocky’s SKIA Australian team members
Riley Glennen (Opens)
Rebecca Harris (Opens)
Philip Gray (Masters)
Anne Reid (Masters)
Victoria MacLean (Masters)
Pascal Flegeau (Masters)
Jarryd Lebeter (Colts)
Wing Powell (Juniors)
Philip Liebenberg (Juniors)
Levi Davis (Juniors)
Isabelle Scriffignano (Juniors)