Akayo at the JKO England Open Championship

A gifted Sixth Form karateka competed against entrants from all around the globe in an international open championship and returned home with an impressive haul of medals.

On 29th October, Ayako took part in the JKA (Japan Karate Association) England’s Open Championship in Crawley, which is held once a year. This competition is open to a variety of karate styles and to both national and international competitors.

In 2022 more than 400 competitors from eight different countries took part and competed over a range of categories.

Ayako participated in two events: kumite (sparring) for 16-18 year old women and kata (solo performance of set series of defensive and offensive techniques) for 16-20 year old women.

In kumite, Ayako came third and got a bronze medal. Kata involved a series of elimination rounds, a points-based semi-final and a points-based final. Here, Ayako took the gold in great style, edging it over an experienced international competitor from Norway in the final.

Ayako’s father, Bjarke said: “This really impressive performance and set of results came on the back of a string of strong results in competitions in 2021 and 2022 and of Ayako winning the national championship in June 2022 in kata and coming second in kumite.

“With its international participation, this championship is even more competitive and of a very high standard. I am immensely proud of Ayako for doing so well, especially being able to combine her karate with the demands of the run-in to A Levels. She started karate when she was 7 and has remained fiercely determined to do well.”

Ayako has been selected to represent England in the JKA European Championship which will take place in Switzerland in April 2023.