Cunningham brothers crowned national champions
IT WAS double delight for brothers Alfie and William Cunningham in the Japan Karate Association England Championships at the K2 in Crawley.
William, nine, picked up a gold in the kumite (sparring) and a silver medal in the kata (patterns) age seven-to-nine category with some outstanding performances.
His achievement was matched by his older brother Alfie, 16, who won the kata and finished second in the kumite in the 16-to-20 age category.
Alfie has now won national gold in three different age groups.
Havant Karate Club coach Steve Fife was delighted with the talented duo, from Stamshaw, who both performed so strongly.
He said: ‘William was outstanding all day.
‘To get to both finals is different class. He is now the national, open, four nations, and European champion, at the age of nine. It is mind blowing.
‘For Alfie to reach both finals in kata and kumite is superb.
‘Alfie has won the gold medal in kata in three different age categories, 10 to 12, 13 to 15, and 16 to 20.
‘His fighting has improved greatly and at a fast rate too.
‘I’m sure they will be both be grand champions soon by winning gold medals in both sections.’
More than 400 students competed from different clubs in England and the arena was packed with spectators.
William, a 1st Dan black belt, progressed through three rounds of the kata before sealing his silver.
In the kumite, William showed his great quality and potential to take the gold medal.
Fife added: ‘After going through three rounds of the kata with ease, he performed enpi, a high level kata to get good marks from the judges to take the silver medal.
‘In the kumite section, William reached the final with his good movement, strong attacks and blocking techniques.
‘He was crowned national champion and also retained the best junior male student of the tournament for the second year running.’
Next up was Alfie, who is a 2nd dan black belt.
Fife said: ‘Alfie was in a tough section this year in the kata event.
‘Again he showed his top quality karate in the preliminary rounds, beating several England squad members to get to the quarter-finals.
‘Then he performed jion, a high level kata, to reach the final four.
‘In the final he performed gan kaku, a very complex kata full of balancing movements, strikes and kicks.
‘With a flawless display he got the best score, five points clear of second place to take the kata gold medal.
‘In the kumite, Alfie was again in fine form, with his movement and dynamic attacks dismantling his opponents one after the other.
‘The final was close and Alfie was a point up before he was pegged back.
‘Then 15 seconds from the end of the fight Alfie got caught with a good kick to the mid section meaning he had to settle for a silver medal.’
The Cunninghams will be back in Crawley in November for the England Open.