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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney






(Updated 02/06/06)
Local karate kids collect five gold medals at Canadian championships

By Fred Sherwin
Orleans Onlin

Clockwise from bottom right Alexi Crane, Amanda Bentley-Desousa, Rebecca Shaffer and Helen Medhin all won gold at the Canadian Karate Championships in Gatineau on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Helen Mehdin had to defeat three former world champions to win her gold medal, while Rebecca Shaffer had to beat a world championship silver medalist three years her senior to win hers.

Both young ladies went into last weekend's World Karate Association (WKA) Canadian Championships in Gatineau as defending champions and emerged victorious along with teammates Amanda Bentley-De Sousa, Sebastien Boileau and Alexi Crane.

The next step for all five gold medalists will be the WKA World Championships being held in Spain next fall were they could be joined by four other clubmates who earned medals in Gatineau.

The Elite Karate team will be led by Rebecca Shaffer who won gold at last year's World Championships in continous fighting in +45 kg weight division for girls 12 and under.

As a 12-year-old, Rebecca was usually much bigger than many of her opponents. Not so this year. A year older, she's moved up to the 13 to 17 age group where she must compete in the +60 kg weight division against girls who are older and often the same size or even bigger than she is.

In Gatineau, she breezed her way to the gold medal match where she had to face a 17-year-old opponent who won the silver medal at last year's World Championships. Using an effective counter attack, Rebecca earned a well deserved split decision.

"It wasn't that I was expecting to win a gold medal, but I was definitely hoping (to win one)," says Rebecca. "I worked really hard in training and I have a great coach."

The win should give the Grade 8 Emily Carr Middle School student a definite confidence boost heading into next fall's World Championhips, especially considering last year's gold medalist has moved up to a higher age group.

"I just have to keep training hard and work on my speed," says Rebecca.

Helen Mehdin only had to face three opponents on her way to winning the gold medal in points sparring in the -45kg weight division for girls 13-17 years old, all three have been world champions at one time or another.

After a tough opening match, she beat her second opponent fairly handily to earn a berth in the final. In the gold medal match the score was tied with a minute to go when Helen scored to go up by a point. Her opponent then scored a point to force overtime.

In the extra session, Helen kept pressuring the other girl by forcing her into the corner where she was able to rack up three points to win 17-14.

Nine-year-old Alexi Crane successfully defended her title in points sparring in the -25kg weight category for girls 12 and under. The little dynamo had to rally from two points down in her first match before moving on to gold medal match which she won 10-0.

Sebastien Boileau also won a gold medal in points sparring in the 55 kg weight division for boys 13 to 17 years old, while Amanda Bentley-De Sousa won the kata or forms event competing for the first time in the 13 to 17 age group. Besides his gold medal, Boileau also earned a silver in continuous fighting and a bronze in kata.

Other Elite Karate members who medaled include: Sean Sweeney, second in continuous fight (adult men, +85 kg) and second in points sparring; Patrick Coté, third in points sparring (12 and under, -45kg); Eric Lauzon, third in points sparring (13-17, - 55kg); and Nicolas St. Pierre, third in continuous fighting (12 and under, -30kg).

The world championships are being held in Spain from Nov. 4-11. Only the top three finishers at the Candian WKA Championships can compete at the worlds.

(The story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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Updated Mar. 15




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