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Montenegro International 2010 report

Mar 16, 2010

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On Friday the 5th March 2010, for the first time in fourteen years, a British Karate team assembled in preparation for a trip to Montenegro.

Meeting  at London Heathrow's Terminal 4, the party was headed by myself, Mike Billman (England) Vice-President of the BKF, special guest Ticky Donovan OBE (England), referee Chico Mbakwe (Wales) and, in the absence of Wayne Otto OBE, squad manager Gerry Fleming (Scotland.)

The British team consisted of Davin Pack, Lee Heath, Natalie Williams and Katie Hurry from England, Callum Robb, Steven Murray, Craig Moffatt, and Chloe McLean from Scotland, Rob Scott from Wales, and James Brunton from Northern Ireland. Welsh coach, Paul Scott, Rob's father, also accompanied the team.

The round-robin match was organised by my European Technical Committee colleague, Rajko Vujosevic, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his karate club, in Podgorica, Montenegro.

After a marathon flight, including a three and three quarter hour layover in Belgrade, the Team landed in Podgorica at 10pm, where they were met by Rajko and transported to their hotel.

After dinner it was straight to bed for the team.

Fortunately the match did not start until 1pm so the squad were able to have a deserved lay-in, a late breakfast and, after a relaxing hour or so, walked to the stadium where they were loosened up and put through a light training session by Gerry.

At 1pm the match commenced and the GB team were first out against France, where they got off to a bad start with Callum Robb only managing to draw 1-1, while Craig Moffat, (0-2) Davin Pack, (1-2) Steven Murray, (0-1) and Robbie Scott (1-3) all suffered defeats.

Round two was against Montenegro and this time Callum got the team off to a better start winning 1-0. Lee Heath was next up and fought a close match finally losing 4-3. Davin Pack then turned it on to defeat his opponent 8-0, but the host team came back quickly with Steven Murray losing 6-0 to his opponent. Last up was James Brunton who fought hard, gaining a 1-0 victory over his opponent.

In round three GB were drawn against Hungary where Callum suffered his first defeat 3-1. Robbie Scott drew 2-2, then Davin Pack pulled off a 2-0 win, Lee Heath a 0-0 draw, and finally anchor-man, Jamie Brunton came to the fore again with a 2-1 win.

Bosnia & Herzegovina were GB's next opponents and things looked grim as Callum was heavily defeated 8-3. Steven Murray came back with a 1-0 win, but Davin Pack then suffered a 3-2 defeat. Craig Moffatt had what was probably his best fight of the day, defeating his opponent 3-0. Again it was up to Jamie Brunton and he didn't disappoint, winning his bout 3-2.

In the last round the GB team faced the strong Serbian team and Callum Robb came back to form with a 2-1 win over his opponent. Steven Murray then lost a very close match 5-4. Davin Pack lost the next fight 3-0, leaving Craig Moffatt and Lee Heath to try to pull off a win. After Craig managed a 3-3 draw Lee came out managing to take his more experienced opponent to a 2-2 draw.

The Ladies team met the hosts, Montenegro, in the first round with Natalie Williams defeating her opponent 5-0. Katie was next up, but suffered a 2-0 defeat. Chloe McLean then managed to hold her opponent to a 0-0 draw.

In the second round, against France, Natalie was beaten 3-1 by her opponent, followed by Katie, also losing 3-1. Chloe McLean then pulled them back by defeating her opponent 3-2.

Next was Serbia, and Natalie fought hard to earn a 0-0 draw. Unfortunately Katie and Chloe were both defeated 2-0 in their final match.

Both teams had fought hard to earn themselves a Bronze medal position, and deserve every credit for the way in which they conducted themselves.

That evening the team had dinner and took a well-earned rest, while the management were taken to a wonderful restaurant and treated to a superb meal laid on by the host, Rajko.

After a 14 year gap a Great Britain karate team had once again competed at international level. When they last competed in 1996 they were led by Ticky Donovan and now, 14 years later, the GB team had competed once again, and this time the special guest was................Ticky Donovan OBE!

The BKF Board would like to thank Gerry Fleming and Chico Mbakwe, Paul Scott for keeping such an accurate record of the scores, and Ticky Donovan OBE, but most of all a special thank you to the athletes for making this such a memorable occasion. Thanks are also due to John Dundas for his work in preparing the bookings and handling the paperwork for the trip, and finally to Terry Connell, President of the BKF, for stepping in and handling things  for the squad when I was unexpectedly called away in the weeks beforehand.

Mike Billman.

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