KUGB Student National Championships 2011

The KUGB National Student Championships (often just "the Student Nationals") is the first major competition of the academic year and falls in the middle of Michaelmas Term. The competition is open to all KUGB members in full-time education and is held in Chesterfield.

Competition Report

Many of you may have read about CUKC's success in this competition last week in The Cambridge Student, but for those of you that missed it:

On Saturday 19th November, the day began early for a group of Cambridge karateka. A select squad of eleven including Cambridge University Karate Club's finest as well as new found talent made their way to Chesterfield to take on some tough opposition at the KUGB (Karate Union of Great Britain) Student Championships.

The day began with the individual kata competition. Kata is the performance of a predetermined sequence of moves of which there are twenty seven in the shotokan style of karate. The elimination rounds were a knock-out style competition with the judges choosing the kata from a selection of five. James Russell in the male kyu grade (coloured belt) category made his competition debut and sailed through the rounds in style to the finals. Likewise, experienced competitor Tiina Pajuste in the female dan grade (black belt) category made the finals with ease. James amazed the judges in the final with his stunning performance of 'Heian Nidan' and was awarded the gold medal. Tiina's powerful rendition of 'Jion' awarded her an impressive third place in a very high calibre competition.

In the individual kumite (free style points based sparring), Cambridge were particularly impressive in the male kyu grade category with Cambridge taking the three podium positions. The final was an impressive match between the club's President Nikon Rasumov against the Vice-President Pragesh Sivaguru with the President eventually being crowned the winner. Third place was taken by Colin Stoneking in his second ever competition. Men's Captain Matt Houlden had a remarkable first fight in the male dan grade kumite by landing a roundhouse kick to the head, instantly awarding him the victory. Upon reaching the quarter finals however, Matt was disqualified after throwing a punch which at first seemed to have won him the fight, until the on site medic reported he had broken his opponent's ribs. Jordan Low in his first competition for Cambridge also fought well in the male dan grade kumite and won his first fight. Unfortunately the heavy blows which his first opponent managed to land on him slowed him down sufficiently that he lost his second fight in a closely fought match with final score of 2:1. Women's Captain Emma Nunn had more success in the female dan grade kumite as she cruised through her opening fights to the final, defeating her first opponent in less than 10 seconds. Some hard blows and difficult to call clashes the final meant that Emma came away with the silver. Regrettably some vicious punches to the head from her opponents in the finals meant that Emma was forced to withdraw from the women's team kumite final later that day.

The qualifying rounds for the team kumite match (best of three fights from teams of three competitors) were held earlier that day and the women showcased their amazing fighting ability with the team consisting of Emma Nunn, Tiina Pajuste and Franchesca Perselli (making her first appearance for CUKC) beating their opponents 3-0 and comfortably moving into the final. As Emma was unable to compete in the final, Iris Chan stepped up well to the challenge in her competition debut and won her match with great spirit. After the three competitors had had one fight each, the score was tied at 1-1 (one draw). Each team selected one more fighter for the deciding fight and it was down to Tiina Pajuste to try and bring home the gold for Cambridge. In a closely fought fight against the girl who won the individual kumite, Tiina narrowly missed out on victory leaving the Cambridge team with silver.

In the team kata (teams of three performing kata in synchronisation), there was more medal success for Cambridge. The team consisting of Tiina Pajuste, Matt Houlden and Jerome Singh performed a well-coordinated 'Heian Godan' to qualify for the finals with the second highest point score. The kata 'Empi' which they performed in the finals looked set to win them the gold until the penultimate move where both Tiina and Jerome forgot the kiai (shout). This mistake cost the team crucial points but the overall high quality of the kata was such that they came home with the bronze medal.

Overall it was a highly successful day for Cambridge even with many experienced members of the team unfortunately missing due to injury and both captains barred from fighting during the course of the competition, albeit for very different reasons. Come Varsity, the Cambridge squad will be unstoppable. Oxford, bring it on!

Individual Medals

Emma Nunn
Women's Dan Grade Kumite
Tiina Pajuste
Women's Dan Grade Kata
Nikon Rasumov
Men's Kyu Grade Kumite
James Russell
Men's Kyu Grade Kata
Pragesh Sivaguru
Men's Kyu Grade Kumite
Colin Stoneking
Men's Kyu Grade Kumite

Team Medals

Emma Nunn, Tiina Pajuste, Franchesca Perselli, Iris Chan (Cambridge Women)
Women's Team Kumite
Tiina Pajuste, Matt Houlden, Jerome Singh
Mixed Team Kata