Students impress in Japan

Marius DakinThe West Australian

Three senior fighters from the Margaret River Karate Club returned home last week after an invigorating 10-day journey to Japan.

The three high school students and their mentors competed at the 19th annual USKU Universal Shotokan Karate Championships in Takanabe.

Although all three students did well, club sensei Ken Rouw said the stand-out was 15-year-old first dan black belt Griffin Keen who won gold in his age division for his kata routine.

“Taj Thomas and Zebe Barnett were (also) quite exceptional during their katas,” Rouw said.

The sentiments were echoed by club president Paul Creaney, who also travelled with the group.

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“Both did very well, and Zebe’s kata was the best he’s ever done — he was right up there,” Creaney said. “But when the field has so many competing, it just makes it that much harder.”

Keen was also voted best all-round foreign competitor at the end of competition, which attracted more than 400 fighters from Japan and eight other countries.

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