FISH River Sun was buzzing 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 sporting calendar, the 11th edition of the Secko Championships saw about 350 karateka compete representing 18 dojos across South Africa.
For many Eastern Cape karate athletes and spectators the hotel has become somewhat of an institution for hosting the popular championship over the past decade.
The karateka competed in the championship in categories ranging from novice to elite. Karate styles represented at the championship included Shotokan-Ryu, Goju-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu.
About 18 dojos contested this year’s championship. Locally based East Cape Shotokan-Ryu (Grahamstown and Port Alfred) shared overall top honours with King Karate Club (King William’s Town), while the always competitive Joza Karate Club achieved third position overall.
At 17 years old, Brent Smith of East Cape Shotokan-Ryu made Secko Championship history by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Men’s Open Black Belt Kata (forms) category.
Isa Ayob of Titan Karate Club (Port Elizabeth) placed a close second. Lutho Singata of clinched victory against strong opposition in the Men’s Open Black Belt Kumite (fighting) category.
Yanga Jongile of Joza Karate Club (Grahamstown) put up a spirited fight to take the runner-up position.
Secko organiser and ECSR head instructor Gary Grapentin was exceptionally proud of Men’s Open Winners’ Smith and Sinagta, both of whom he coaches.
Kayleigh Chamberlain of Western Suburbs Karate Club (Port Elizabeth) successfully defended her 2016 Secko Kumite title by winning the Senior Ladies’ Black Belt Kumite category for the second year in succession.
In second place was Tanya de Villiers (also of Port Elizabeth). De Villiers trains at both PE North Karate Club and Kase Ha Karate Club.
Ilze van der Merwe of Helderberg Dojo in Somerset West won both the Veteran and Ladies’ Open Black Belt Kata Categories with Chamberlain claiming the silver medal. Van der Merwe had made the trip to the Secko Karate Championships as part of her preparation for the WUKF World Championships which will take place in Scotland next year.
According to Grapentin, the categories were extremely competitive with a number of exceptional athletes in the elite categories. The large number of athletes in the novice and intermediate children’s categories was also indicative of karate’s growing popularity in the province.
“The categories were extremely competitive and the standard in the elite categories was of an exceptionally high standard,” he said.
For karate in Grahamstown, Kenton-on-Sea or Port Alfred, Grapentin may be contacted at email@example.com.
Local (ECSR Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea) results:
Lizelle Pienaar: Silver (kata)
Thembile Ngangqu: Gold (kata)
Jason Herrington: Bronze (kata)
Azukile Hendele: Bronze (kata)
Hlehle Mali: Bronze (kata and kumite)
Ethan Roetz: Gold (kata) and Silver (kumite)
Brett Williams: Silver (kata)
Kirwan Scott: Silver (kumite)
Jaco Slabbert: Gold (kumite)
Imo Isaac: Bronze (kumite)
Fagan Van Heerden: Gold (kata) and Silver (kumite)
Josh De Vos: Bronze (kata) and Gold (kumite)
Xola Mali: Silver (kumite)
Janay Williams: Silver (kata)
Tainn Neethling Bronze (kata and kumite)