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Our team at the National Championships this year were a relatively inexperienced one. Most of the team had not fought at this level before. Everyone acquitted themselves well with most winning at least one bout, and many taking medals. What was great to see as ever was the Academy creed on display with many individual members of the team coming back from hard fights to win their next ones, often learning from the mistakes which had cost them previously.

The team: Malcolm Wilson, Ethan Wilson, Amelia McGirr, Roberta Griffiths, Aeryn Tench, Francesca Sigal, James Stockwell Williams, Kieran Masuda-Morgan, Emily Hill, Sean Masuda-Morgan, Cameron Clarke, Aurie Tzeng, Hugo Dewar, Sparkles MacDiarmid, Maxim Zhilkin, Evgeny Zhilkin, Oscar Quin, Sam Power, Luca Carter, Caitlin McGirr, Jay Blair, Emily Hill

Gold: Emily Hill, Sean Masuda-Morgan, Cameron Clarke
Silver: Aurie Tzeng, Francesca Sigal
Bronze: Hugo Dewar, Sparkles MacDiarmid, Maxim Zhilkin (2), Oscar Quin, Sam Power, Luca Carter, Caitlin McGirr, Jay Blair, Emily Hill

Credit must also go to our close friend Sam Clegg of Masterton JJA who took Gold in his Senior Boys weight class and Silver in the Senior Boys open weight class.

Our esteemed Sensei, Patrick Toner was present for much of the weekend and we had a visit also from John Haanstra Sensei.

Sunday’s medal presentation was remarkable in that medals were presented by the Japanese Ambassador to New Zealand,Toshihisa Takata San.

Special thanks to the army of volunteers who made it all happen. Honorable mentions must go to Wendy van der Molen (Area Director), Chris Kingston (Tournament Controller), Karen Parker (Kapiti JC) and Mabel Salmon.

A satisfying weekend of competition in an already busy year. Still plenty to look forward to in the next two months. While the National Championships may be the biggest competition of the tournament calendar, it is not the last.

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