The first WKL Tournament of every season is traditionally the biggest, however with this event being held on a Saturday, and the venue changed at the last minute, numbers perhaps suffered and although almost 350 entries is not quiet by any standards, it was 'less busy' than usual.

The work being done in our dojo is definitely paying dividends
 as the Vale Squad won an impressive 12 Gold medals, 8 Silvers and 13 Bronzes at the Season Opener which took place in Neath Sports Centre on Saturday May 13th.
Six gold's ahead of our nearest rivals, the IKAW from Ireland. 

Vale had a clean sweep of medals in the U14 Special & Para Kata with Bradley James taking Gold, Jared Butcher Silver and Connor Ashill Bronze.
Lucas Widdrington took Silver in the 14+ category.
Mark and Ella were our only Parent & Child entry, but did us proud with a Bronze medal.

There was a surprise victory by Vale Tora in the newly established U14 Team Kata with Nathan, Greg and Talia taking top spot! Amelie, Elle-Mai and Heidi, the Vale Dragons took bronze.

Chiara Baker was on top form winning not only the U14 Kata Gold medal, but also the Kumite Gold medal!
She also took a bronze in the U-16 Shotokan event, with the strength of the very good 15 year-olds there, too much to overcome at the moment.

Vale have a wealth of potential and talent in the Under 8s and U10's!

Angel Manayani is only six years old, but will take some beating this season!
She took Gold in the U8 Girls Kata, with fellow six-year-olds Mayzi Lee and Nevaeh Williams taking Bronzes.
Amelie Fisher took Silver in the U10 Novice Kata with fine performances. Jack Eustace took Bronze.
In the U8 Boys we took Silver and Bronze courtesy of Max Riddick and 5 year old Jakob Bartush.

Max then went all the way in the Kumite, beating team-mate Liam Pugh in an all-Vale final.
There were three further Vale medals in the U10's with Talia Efstathiou taking Silver in the U10 Advanced Kata, Elle-Mai Lee taking Bronze in the U10 Girls Kumite and Lloyd Beer taking Silver in the U10 Boys Kumite. Elle-Mai, Lloyd and Jack Rowles later went on to win an U10 Team Kumite Bronze medal.

Ella Lyons was our only medallist in the U12 categories, with a Bronze won in the U12 Advanced kata.
The U16 Boys kumite saw an all-Vale final!
Christopher Slack only returned to competitive Karate at last season's finale when he seized Gold in the U14s at his first attempt.
Moving up to the U16'S he came up against team-mate Josh Davies who has a stack of titles to his name. Josh's experience gave him the edge, but what a team we have! Unfortunately no other U16 team's entered so the boys couldn't show what they could do together!

Leah Copeland last season's champion of Champions in both Kata and Kumite is concentrating on coaching this season, so didn't compete (except for the Vale adult Kumite team) however we had Sarah Morgan and Alexandra Slack in the Ladies kata and both took medals with Alex earning Bronze and Sarah adding the Ladies Gold to the Ladies Veteran Gold she had won a little earlier!

Tom Gardner hasn't competed since he was a teenager. Now in his early thirties with his own young son training, he entered the Mens +75Kg Kumite and showed he still 'has it' and took the Gold medal.
Sam Cana from the Ken Bu Kan, was injured in the other part of the draw. so was withdrawn. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Carl Peckham has been plagued by injury for many years. His Karate however is absolutely top drawer. Only seconds into his Veteran mens Kumite event, he suffered injury to his shoulder, and coupled with the rust that many years away from there tatami inflict, he couldn't progress and took a Bronze medal. Tom, Carl and Leah took on Talbot Karate in the Adult Kumite team event and both Tom and Carl benefitted form the extra mat-time to work towards being back to their best.
Leah was on form and the team added another Gold to the tally.

The second WKL takes place in Wrexham on 16th July.