Dokan karate association that has its head quarters in South Tyneside and Sunderland, took a small squad to Florence Italy for the WUKF European championships. A tournament that had 21 countries, over 70 referees, 260 coaches and 1852 athletes attending, and was ran over 4 days with a further day for registrations and weigh ins etc.

The squad had a hard time of arranging the trip due to rail strikes and multiple flight cancellations that saw some parents withdraw completely, but those that persevered were rewarded with an experience they will never forget.

The 12 students who are all from Tyne and Wear won 4 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze medals between them. Quite a respectable tally for such a small group, and they could have done better with a smidgen of luck.

Florence is extremely beautiful, the Italian people very friendly and all the squad and families had a great social time together. The trip was truly memorable.

The Gold medal winners and 2022 European champions were Eleisha Mitchinson, Elle Smith and Emma Snaith in the 18 to 20 years female team kata section, they were superb and won convincingly. All three girls have been high end karateka for many years, training up to seven days a week for years on end. They really did deserve this victory, and they narrowly missed out on the team fighting gold too, but took a hard earned silver.

Charley Forster age 8 who won her low-grade kata section of over 30 children from all over Europe, Charley began karate only one year ago and took to it immediately. At Dokan club (South Tyneside and Sunderland) you can train seven days a week if you are ambitious and that is exactly what Charley has done. I really hope Charley is someone to watch for future superstardom in the karate kata world.

Riley Rogerson age 9. Riley is a member of Dokan Associations member club Kawauso, that trains in Farringdon and Ryhope. Kawauso is a big club in its own right and the chief instructor Mark Holt sends his talented students to Dokans weekly squad sessions every Sunday. This was where Rileys talent was encouraged, developed and honed to be someone of the highest quality in all aspects of karate. Riley won kata gold too.

Rebecca Davis age 13. Rebecca does not live in Sunderland or South Tyneside, she lives in county Durham, but has made the journey 4 times a week, every week for five year and is something a bit special now. She really was very unfortunate not to medal in kata and I was not comfortable with her kata result, but at Dokan we push everyone to fight in class sessions and how fabulous this turned out to be when Rebecca won gold in ippon kumite (fighting) beating another Dokan girl, Grace Young in the final. She also fought brilliantly in team fighting.

The whole squad were great, and I have my eyes set on Dundee Scotland next year for the World Championships. How fortunate to have a world championship in Scotland, and it is being ran by a very competent team. This is a fantastic focus point and goal for my whole club. And let’s not forget Charley who won gold after less than a year in the sport. Hard works, dedication, a bit talent, THE RIGHT CLUB, and the world is your oyster. 

THE DOKAN DOZEN = Eleisha Mitchinson 20 / Elle Smith 18 / Emma Snaith 16 / Rebecca Davis 13 / Imogen Dunbar 13 / Grace Young 13 / Laila Hunnam 12 / Ewan Baxter 10 / Riley Rogerson 9 / Charley Forster 8 / Spencer Charlton 8 / Josh Parkin age 7.