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Smithers karate dojo produces 3 world champions

The little dojo that could keeps on kicking above its weight class.

The little dojo that could keeps on kicking above its weight class.

Shogun Dojo in Smithers took 16 fighters — along with two from Shogun Martial Arts Club in Williams Lake — to the World Karate and Kickboxing Union (WKU) World Championships in Calgary Oct. 16 - 20 and came back with three world champions.

They also captured six silver and nine bronze medals while Team Canada finished fourth in the countries competition.

“It takes courage to attend such a huge event, to face opponents on the world stage and to put everything to the test to what has been learned during many hours of training,” said coach Marwan Abu Khadra noting that for most it was their first time attending a world-class event.

In the 16-17-year-old division, Scotia Lancaster fought an opponent from the United States in a tight battle that resulted in a split decision in favour of the Smithers teen.

“Showing high-level technical skills and very good footwork, while her opponent was pushing aggressively forward, she won the fight,” Marwan said.

Tareq Abu Khadra also had to face off against a strong American opponent in Points Fighting and also came away a world champion.

“This time Canada presented the stronger fighter and earned Tareq his first place,” said Marwan

Tareq also earned bronze in adult continuous fighting.

The final gold medalist for Team Canada from Shogun was Niky Tevely, who fought in two divisions, continuous fighting veterans and continuous fighting adult. While the latter is generally considered the tougher division, Tevely won gold in that division while earning silver in the veterans class.

“Consistent training for many months paid off in amazing achievements for a first-time attendee,” said Marwan.

The coach, who just last week was inducted into the European Martial Arts Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Germany, said extra training added following a break during the pandemic paid off immensely in achieving 18 medals for the Smithers athletes.

“At the beginning of the year with renewed enthusiasm for competitions, after having to stop due to COVID, extra training sessions were put on the schedule to increase conditioning [and] to perfect tactical skill, sparring and forms,” he explained.

“I am proud and humbled by the achievements of every single one of my students also those who didn’t place, but put their best effort forward.”

According to Marwan, other highlights included 10-year-old Leo Drydyk (10 yrs), who fought in the semi-finals exceptionally well by showing lots of courage.

“His final fight turned into a true nail-biter, first being behind by five points, he caught up to even points when the intensity increased,” Marwan explained. “Both fighters scored one point in alternate fashion until 14 points were reached and Leo lost the last point and gold medal to his opponent. Leo was fearless, tactical and skilled, his silver medal well-deserved.”

But attending tournaments is not only about earning medals, Marwan added. To a large degree, it is about obtaining experience because the intensity of a tournament, especially of the caliber of the WKU worlds, cannot be emulated in a classroom setting.

“Even though not everybody got to bring home a medal, we’ve seen outstanding performances from everyone,” he said.

Next year’s World Championships are scheduled to be held in Rhodos, Greece.

SHOGUN DOJO MEDALS

Gold

Scotia Lancaster: (Teens 16-17 years)

Niki Tevely: (Adults) Continuous

Tareq Abu Khadra: (Adults) Point Fighting

Silver

Niki Tevely (Veterans) Continuous

Eric Tevely (Adults) Full Contact

Jonathan Sim: Point Fighting

Olena Foster: (2 silver) Forms

Leo Drydyk: (Kids under 12) Point

Bronze

Justice Lancaster: (2 bronze) (Juniors 14-15 years) Point and Continuous

Serafim Dwyer: (Juniors 14-15 years) Point Fighting

Brennan Euverman: (Juniors 14-15 years) Point Fighting

Hunter Miers: (2 bronze) (Juniors 14-15 years) Point Fighting

Karim Abu Khadra: (Adults) Team Point Fighting

Darren MacDonnald: (Adults) Point Fighting

Tareq Abu Khadra: Bronze 1 (Adults) Continuous



Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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