Talented trio will take on the world’s best in Japan
Margaret River’s elite karate club has selected three of its senior fighters to compete in next week’s 21st USKU Universal Shotokan Karate Championships in Takanabe, Japan.
The young warriors will not only represent their club dojo and the State, but will join the main Australian karateka contingent (numbering approximately 60) and compete on the world stage against some of the top fighters on the planet.
More than a dozen countries are expected to compete at the biennial championships.
Zebediah Barnett, 16, Danielle Campbell, 18, and Zane McKee, 17, are the three students picked to represent their dojo — who together have notched up almost 20 years of training between them.
Senior instructor and sensei Ken Rouw, who will accompany the trio, said he was pleased with this year’s selection.
“Danielle and Zane are both going for the first time, so it should be a great experience for them competing at international level,” he said.
“Zebe has been involved in karate now consistently for more than eight years, which in itself is a remarkable achievement.
“But this time he will be competing as well as going for a black belt grading.”
As he has done with most of his students during the past 30 years, Rouw said he had watched the journey Zebediah had made in the past decade.
“After competing very successfully in the international tournament in Margaret River last year, it will be quite a challenge for him in Japan where the number of competitors could number well over 300,” Rouw said.
“His development from a quiet, shy child to a confident 16-year-old has in itself been an amazing journey to be a part of.”
Barnett, who acknowledges being a seasoned fighter, has represented his State, fought interstate, and competed internationally.
And this trip will be the third time he has travelled to the Japan.
“I am lucky and honoured to have this opportunity to go to Japan again and compete against some of the best Shotokan fighters in the world,” he said following an intense training session earlier this week.
“The first time I went I was a purple belt and only 12 years old,” he recalled. “But I have come a long way since then”.
Although Danielle and Zane don’t have the same amount of experience as Zebe, “it is hoped that what they gain from this trip will not only reap rewards for the club, but also encourage others to work towards the same goal,” Rouw said.
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