Broken hand fails to stop Terang fighter Jill Cole claiming national crown

A BROKEN hand wasn’t going to stop Terang fighter Jill Cole from adding a third karate national crown to her collection.

Cole won the veteran women’s continuous sparring title at the National All Styles (NAS) championships in Sydney on the weekend.

The win, her third in three years, came despite carrying an injury into the competition.

“I competed with a broken hand too,” Cole said. “It’s on the mend but I chipped part of the knuckle off at training six weeks ago now.”

The Camperdown Funakoshi Karate Club black belt said the continuous sparring final was “exhausting”.

“It was pretty close. I won 2-1 in the final,” she said.

“After you’ve done a few rounds before that, you don’t have any energy.

“You spar for two minutes and find out at the end who wins. It’s similar to boxing.

“You go hell for leather.”

Cole, who thanked Camperdown sensai Peter Conroy for helping her prepare for nationals, returned home with a swag of trophies across different categories.

She placed second representing Victoria in the veteran women’s state-versus-state competition and collected two other seconds and a third.

“It was fun trying to get all the trophies on the plane. I was very tired but very happy,” she said.

Cole said she would travel to Belgium for a Funakoshi training tour next year and her next competition would be in April.

She was among five south-west competitors at the NAS championships — four were from the Camperdown club and one was from the Warrnambool club.

Camperdown’s Matthew Conroy was the only other fighter to win a trophy, helping Victoria to second place in the under 18 boys’ state-versus-state competition.

Peter Conroy, Terang’s Toby Cole and Warrnambool’s Garrin Williamson also represented the region in Sydney.

Peter said the trophy haul was an impressive feat for the Camperdown club, which was the smallest at the championships.

He lauded the efforts of Cole, who he said was “an inspiration” for those around her.

“We have a principle called Kaizen, which is a principle of continuous development,” he said.

“Regardless of where you’re at, you have a feeling of not having perfect knowledge, perfect fitness or perfect ability.

“She’s embraced that principle.”

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