Cunningham brothers aim to conquer world after national glory

Brothers William, left, and Alfie Cunningham were both in top form
Brothers William, left, and Alfie Cunningham were both in top form
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After both winning national titles brothers Alfie and William Cunningham have been selected to represent England in the World Championships next month.

The Havant club members struck gold in the nationals held at the K2 Crawley Leisure Centre.

William, 10, and Alfie, 17, from Stamshaw, won the kata (patterns) titles.

They then went on to pick up a bronze and a silver medal respectively in the kumite (sparring).

Havant club coach Steve Fife praised the talented duo’s latest achievements.

He said: ‘Alfie and William did brilliantly to get to both finals in kata and kumite, showing they are fantastic at both categories.

‘Alfie just got beat to best cadet of the tournament by a fellow England team member.

‘Both Alfie and William are still training in Westminster twice a month with the England squad.

‘This will make sure they will be at the peak of karate form when they represent England at the Japan Karate Association World Championships in Ireland, from August 18 to 20.’

William, 10, is a first dan black belt and was competing in the age 10-to-12 black belt category.

His fine form and strong technics saw him progress through three rounds of the kata (patterns) to reach the final.

In the final he performed gankaku, an advanced shotakan kata, full of dynamic, balancing moves.

His efforts were rewarded with the highest score from the judges to take the gold medal.

Next was the kumite section and after three fights he had progressed to the semi-final, even scoring a full point with a superb round-house kick to the head.

In the semi-final brave William was beaten by a strong reverse punch but he still picked up a hard-fought bronze medal to go with the kata crown.

His sparring is improving every time he fights.

Alfie, age 17, is a second dan black belt and he also showed superb form throughout the competition.

In the age 16-to-20 black belt kata section he breezed into the last eight with his first class early katas, winning four flags to none in three rounds.

In the quarter-finals he performed jion to a high level and got high marks to progress to the final.

In the final he did gojushiho-sho, a very high-class black belt kata and one of the longest with 65 moves.

After getting a top score from the judges he was level with another student. They had to perform again and yet again got the same points.

Looking at the score more closely, Alfie had some higher marks so he was awarded the gold medal.

He has now won the national kata title in three different age groups which is outstanding.

In the kumite event Alfie had an equally brilliant and exciting showing with dynamic punches and kicks to make the final.

This time Alfie had to settle for silver after a spectacular battle when he was just edged out. His kumite is improving at a very fast rate.