Cunningham brothers make global gains with learning curve on world stage

Alfie and William Cunningham
Alfie and William Cunningham
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ALFIE and William Cunningham represented England in the Japan Karate Association World Championships in Ireland.

More than 50 countries competed over three days with some of the best shotakan karate exponents from across the world.

Unfortunately Havant karate club duo Alfie and William, from Stamshaw, both went out of the tournament in the early rounds in both kata set forms and kumite sparring.

However, it was a valuable experience for them and they both put in great performances.

It was a superb atmosphere inside the University of Limerick, with six areas seeing action at the same time in front of more than a 1,000 spectators.

William age 11, first dan black belt, was up first in the kata section.

He performed heian-yondan to a very high level, only to be beaten by a Japanese student 3-1.

Next up was the kumite and William faced a South African opponent.

After both scoring a point with strong punching and kicking technics, it went to a final point.

Unfortunately for William, the South African secured his place through to the next round with a good reverse punch to the face.

William, had certainly made a good impression in his first worlds and had done really well, but said he was a bit nervous on the day.

After winning the European title last year in Serbia, William said the world stage is another level from the Europeans.

Alfie age 17, second dan black belt was up next in the 16 to 18 kata section.

In the first round he performed tekki-shodan against a student from Argentina only to be edged out by a deciding fifth flag.

Up next was the kumite event and Alfie had a great fight against his opponent from the USA.

Alfie struck first with a strong reverse punch to the mid section, only to be cancelled out with a good front kick from the USA student.

The last 30 seconds went to a sudden death finish with the USA opponent scoring a dynamic face punch with only five seconds to go, to progress to the next round.

Alfie was fantastic on the day but again felt quite nervous when in the area competing.

This was Alfie’s second world championships.

He got to the final in the kata section in Tokyo, Japan in 2014 after.

Both have gained valuable experience at world level despite going out in the early rounds in kata and kumite.

The England team got a bronze in the boys’ kumite.

Senior girls got bronze in team kata and silver in team kumite.

The Japan team dominated all the categories, boys and girls and seniors male and female.

They won gold medals in all but one event which shows they are the ones to beat and are world class karate exponents.

Next up for Alfie and William is the four nations at the k2 Arena in Crawley in November.