Saturday 30 August, saw the Karate Union of Great Britain’s (KUGB) International Squads of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, alongside USKF Ireland assemble at the Queens Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield for the second, and final, Grand Slam for 2014.
If you have followed this event over recent times you will see that this event has been gradually growing in size, number and importance over the years, as has the technical excellence and standard of performance from the Karateka.
Within the England Squad there were four members from Chelmsford SKC all keen to perform to their best in the hope of being selected for this year’s European Championships in Switzerland. They were Sian Butler, Eric Austin-Coskry, Jamie Lottering and Teah Pope. In addition, was Jack Somers, the current Senior Male European Kata Champion from Ipswich Higashi, who has regularly trained at Chelmsford over the past decade.
Earlier this week all five had been training at the Chelmsford Dojo in preparation for this weekend’s Grand Slam.
KUGB England Squad members Training at the Chelmsford SKC Dojo - Dovedale Sports Centre - 26 August 2014. (L-R) Jamie Lottering, Sian Butler, Jack Somers, Teah Pope and Eric Austin-Coskry.
The five are part of a strong KUGB England Squad that had an outstanding year in 2013 on the International Arena where a large number of competitors reached Finals with many winning Gold at both the World (WSKA) and European (ESKA) Championships – including Jack Somers.
The Grand Slam is a unique experience as prior to the Competition all of the National Teams competing arrive early to undergo a Squad Session with their respective National Coaches. For KUGB England, the Coaches are Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) and Sensei Frank Brennan (7th Dan). This as usual is a tough session, as although there is a Grand Slam in a few hours time the Coaches are using this event as part of their preparations for the European Championships in Switzerland later this year.
Once the Squad Sessions were completed there was a brief interlude as the Spectators began to arrive.
Time Out - the five KUGB England Squad Members take time for a quick group Photograph in the interval before the Grand Slam begins - Queens Park Sports Centre, Chesterfield - 30 August 2014.
Back Row (L-R) Jamie Lottering, Eric Austin-Coskry & Jack Somers. Front Row ((L-R) Sian Butler and Teah Pope.
In the Grand Slam event everyone performed well and although many did not reach the finals they each showed progress. The standard of this competition is ‘top class’ with many of the current World and European Champions involved in the Finals. Jack Somers reached the Senior Male Kata Final and came second to the current World Champion. KUGB England continued to dominate and there were some outstanding performances that enthralled the watching crowd.
Both, Sensei Jane Naylor-Jones and Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones from Chelmsford SKC attended and were extremely proud of each of them. Sensei Jane said “I am very pleased with everyone’s performances today. The England Coaches have spoken with each of them following the Championship and given them areas to work on to improve and develop. All five will be looking to build on their experiences in two weeks time as they look to enter the KUGB’s National Shotokan Cup”.