FISH River Sun was abuzz with karateka who came from all over the Eastern Cape as well as further afield for last weekend’s SASKA East Coast Karate Open (Secko) Championships, a highlight on the Ndlambe calendar as well as for those aspiring to the sport.
This year, Secko celebrated its 10th anniversary edition of the karate championships at the Fish River Sun and welcomed over 350 participants representing 23 dojos across South Africa.
The various styles of karate were well- represented and included Shorin-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu and Shotokan-Ryu practitioners.
Apart from the large Eastern Cape contingent, karateka from the Western Cape and Gauteng were also present.
The senior ladies’ black belt kata category was won by Kayleigh Chamberlain from Western Suburbs Karate Club, Port Elizabeth, with Rienie Van Anraad from the Griffins Karate Club, Pretoria, placing second. Third place was awarded to Michelle du Plessis from Algoa Bay Karate Academy, Port Elizabeth.
In the ladies’ kumite (fighting) category, Chamberlain defeated Du Plessis to also win the 2016 SECKO ladies’ kumite title. Ann von der Decken from Shotokan Circle Karate, King William’s Town, placed third.
In the senior men’s black belt kata category, Reiner van der Marwitz from S&K Karate Club, Port Elizabeth, successfully defended his 2015 title with a convincing win and made Secko championship history by winning the kata title for the fourth consecutive year. Conrad Lloyd from the Rising Sun Karate Dojo, Gauteng, and Athenkosi Tshaka Kiumra Shukokai International, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, placed second and third respectively.
The men’s kumite final was won by the popular and dynamic Mandlakhe Ngula, a private entry from Port Elizabeth, while Simphiwe Mni and Wandile Kaspile ended in second and third place respectively. Both Mni and Kaspile represent Kimura Shukokai International, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
The ladies’ and men’s senior black belt kata and kumite winners were all presented with high-quality katana sword replicas.
The position for overall top club at the championship was a tussle between SASKA affiliates East Cape Shotokan-Ryu (ECSR) with dojos in Grahamstown, Port Alfred, Kenton-on-Sea and Fort Beaufort and Joza Karate Club in Grahamstown. ECSR eventually emerged as winners by a slim margin of 775 to Joza’s 735 points.
ECSR dojo head and Secko organiser Gary Grapentin was extremely proud of ECSR’s overall first place. The dojo has come a long way since its establishment in Port Alfred in 1995.
“This is only the second time in the championship’s history that ECSR has clinched overall top honours. ECSR also received top honours at this year’s inaugural UWKSA National Championships. It’s the perfect way to celebrate ECSR’s 21st anniversary and thank you to ECSR karateka and their families for their on-going support,” said Grapentin.
The SASKA (South African Shotokan Karate Academy) National Championships and WUKF (World Union of Karate-Do Federations) Africa Invitational will take place at the Fish River Sun Hotel from October 6 to 9.
Karateka and dojos interested in competing may contact Gary Grapentin at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. For accommodation enquiries at the Fish River Sun contact (040) 676-1101 or e-mail email@example.com.