Four local athletes have qualified to represent Canada in the Gichin Funakoshi World Cup tournament, taking place Oct. 17-19 in Tokyo, Japan.
This competition is the world championship for the several million people worldwide who practice Shotokan Karate with the Japan Karate Association. Jacob Maud, Damon McAurther, Amanda Keriliuk and Salvina Sharp earned their place on the Canadian national team by placing in the top four at National Championships held earlier in the year.
All four train under Sensei Don Sharp, who is no stranger to the biggest of stages. Sharp won the gold medal in Kumite (sparring) at the 1996 JKA Worlds. Since then, he has won several other national and international titles, including a silver medal at the 1997 Pan Am Games.
Sharp is the chief instructor at the Valley Shidokan Traditional Karate club in Chilliwack.
Maud, a first degree black belt, competed at the 2011 Funakoshi Cup in Thailand, placing eighth in both Kumite and Kata (forms). He is a Grade 11 student at Sardis secondary school.
Amanda Keriliuk is a second degree black belt and recent graduate of Chilliwack secondary school. She joined Maud at the 2011 Funakoshi Cup, earning top-eight finishes in Kumite and Kata. Keriliuk has been training since she was eight years old.
McArthur, who has been training since he was seven, is a second kyu brown belt and will try for his first degree before leaving.
Most of his opponents will be black belts, making him an underdog. But he was in the same boat at nationals and earned first and third place finishes.
McArthur is a Grade 10 student at Sardis secondary school.
Salvina Sharp is a Sensei at Valley Shidokan, known by her students as Sensei Sal. She coached Maud and Keriliuk at the Funakoshi Cup and is excited to compete alongside them. She’s qualified for this event a few times before, but injuries always prevented her from going.
The trip to Japan will be costly, and the four athletes have been raising money.
They’ll hold one final fundraiser Oct. 4 at the Jolly Miller Pub. The night will include a silent auction.
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