SOUTH-West Victorian karate exponents have proved themselves as some of the best in the state.
Fighters from dojos at Warrnambool and Camperdown returned from National All Styles Victorian championships with four titles and a host of placings.
Terang’s Jill Cole and Warrnambool’s Josh Suringa were the best performed locals at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Each triumphed in two divisions.
Suringa won titles in black belt open kata and advanced continuous sparring and was second in open creative kata.
Cole claimed the honours in veterans’ kumite and veterans’ continuous sparring.
Camperdown’s Ellie Blackney earned three placings in novice kumite, continuous sparring and kata.
Camperdown’s Matt Conroy was third in a 16-17 years sparring section.
Instructor Peter Conroy said the experiences of Cole and Blackney, two of the older members of the Camperdown dojo, proved anyone could get into karate.
Cole developed a passion for the sport after watching her son and daughter become involved, while karate had helped Blackney “transform her health and wellbeing”.
“A lot of people who have given up, whether they used to play netball or footy, a lot of them are hesitant to make that transition into something like karate,” he said.
“Most people in their minds picture fit young men. We’ve got our share of super-fit 20-year-old guys but it’s not beyond older people.
“I’ve seen someone who started at 60 and by 67 got his black belt.
“It was fantastic to see that transformation.”
The four fighters will join four others, Peter Moore, Garin Williamson, Tobi Cole and Peter Conroy, at the national championships in Melbourne on December 1 and 2. The group earned the right to compete at nationals by finishing in the top 12 of their divisions.
Meanwhile, a karate event as part of the South West Games on November 3 has received Australian Karate Federation endorsement.
The endorsement means results at the event will help fighters qualify for state squads, ensuring a high-quality competitor list.