Friday, November 14, 2008

WKF World Karate Championships 2008 Day 2 Report

Richard here, blogging at almost midnight on day 2, which ran very smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, and one we can be all proud off if we one day make it into the Olympics. Sure, sure, there are things to improve, no doubt, but the athletes on the mats were truly incredible and respectful.

While yesterday had the men (gold for France) and women's (gold for Japan) team kata finals, plus women's team kumite final (gold for Germany), today from 9am-3pm was men's team kumite continued on from yesterday, and then then individual kata. Today also saw the finals for individual kata for men (gold for Italy) and women (gold for Vietnam)and men's team kumite (gold for Turkey).

Quick impressions of today as I have to get up again in 6 hours!

Japanese male fighters were spirited, but they were unable to show a complete technique by using their whole body, it was more of just fast arms out of sync from their torso, so few points and the men's team was out by about the 3rd round.

Yesterday and today it was amazing to see how strict the ref's are with scoring points. If the full body is not used and the athlete doesn't retract the technique and be in an advantageous position afterwards, either a quick escape or an overwhelming move forward, there was no point given.

An IOC representative came this afternoon to watch the event and officially check on how things were running, so the head table was buzzing with instructions of how to tighten things up here and there.

Japan Men's Kata Team

I must say how hard everyone is working! Staff, officials, volunteers, high school students, media, everyone seems to be really involved. Sure some students are stuck sitting beside maybe a door to an empty hallway and looking a little bored, but as soon as I walk by I get a smile and I think that cheers us both up.

Oh, I was 'elevated' just a tad to work for Itaki Sensei as we were to help Mr. Estevan Perez and Kenji Sato by being available to take care of any concerns about the flow of the tournament and the set up of the tables and chairs, to just about anything that needed immediate attention.

So I got to, as politely as I could, be diplomatically direct when asking the refs not working to be seated, to clear the competition area, deal with lost equipment and people, take care of requests from Fuji TV the sponsor about how to interact with other camera crews, etc, etc. Actually as soon as I walked anywhere there was a thing needing some attention.

Pretty much I'm at the long elevated front table and everyone can see little old me, and for sure I'm on TV in the background trying to get non-essentional people waved out of the event!

To anyone and everyone who are there at the Nippon Budokan and I deal with, of course no hard feelings, I'm just doing my translating job and extras as I've been asked. Simply telling someone it is a 'WKF rule' seems to work like a charm. And there are so many charming people, from huge athletes who give me a smile while their sweating and crying after a loss, to the many volunteers and officials who wink at me or give me the thumbs up, thank you all.

Tomorrow Kenji is not around until 2 or 3 so I'm the guy on the spot, receiving instructions from Estevan and getting them out to the Japanese staff! Wish me luck! (I have to iron my shirt now and get some sleep!)

From now, only individual open and weight div kumite!


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