The Shotokan-ZA National Team is currently in Scotland to represent South Africa at the seventh World Union of Karate-Do Federation (WUKF) World Karate Championships.
The 14-member team, as well as four officials (referees and coaches) and team supporters, left South Africa on 10 June from OR Tambo airport to travel to Dundee, Scotland to compete.
The youngest competitor, Shannon Oliver, is 11 years old and is currently a purple belt while the oldest, Marjolein Lewis, is a 55-year-old 4th Dan black belt.
“The WUKF Karate World Championship is the biggest karate tournament of its kind, they have confirmed 2 280 participants [in total for this year],” explained Mari du Preez of Kyalami Karate, which is affiliated with Shotokan-ZA. “All 14 team members will be competing in the Kata [category] and 12 in Kumite [category], some in Shobu Ippon and some in Shobu Sanbon Kumite.”
The competition will run from 14 to 17 June.
The squad was identified at both the Gauteng and National Championships last year and final trials were held in October. The team has been training for the championships since November.
“This being our first WUKF World Championship, we are approaching this competition with conservative expectations and purely as a learning opportunity.
“Locally, our team has done exceptionally well in the various competitions leading up to our departure, but we are interested to see how we fare on the world stage in terms of our training, skill, preparation programme, etc.”
The WUKF World Karate Championships are for competitors of all ages.