Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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(Posted 10:30 a.m., May 21)
Blackburn Hamlet miss wins pair of gold medals at national karate championships
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Amanda Bentley-Desousa from Blackburn Hamlet holds up the two gold medals she won at the WKA Canadian Sport Karate Championships in Gatineau on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Amanda Bentley-Desousa may be small in stature, but she has the heart of a lion as evident by the two gold medals she won at the WKA Canadian Sport Karate Championships at the Palais des Congres in Gatineau on the weekend despite having a bum knee she aggravated while pursuing her other athletic passion rugby.

Despite being just 4-feet-11 inches tall and weighing only 95 lbs, the 14-year-old Grade 9 student is a scrum half on Colonel By's varsity girls rugby team. The constant pounding her body takes during practice and the games has aggravated an old knee injury. The rugby schedule has also limited her time in the gym at the Elite Martial Arts and Fitness Centre on Trim Road.

Despite the minimal time she was able to spend sparring in the gym, Bentley-Desousa was more than able to hold her own in the points fighting competition for girls 13-17 years of age on the weekend.

In Saturday's preliminary round, she won all four of her matches in the -45kg weight division to give her the maximum number of points heading into Sunday's final round.

After winning her first match 9-2 on Sunday, she took on her main competition Karolyn Bedard from Quebec whom she beat twice on Saturday by identical scores of 7-6. In their third match-up, Bentley-Desousa came out on the losing end of another one point match, but because of her superior points total over the two days of competition she was awarded the gold medal.

Amanda Bentley-Desousa performs her kata, or forms routine, during the WKA Canadian Championships at the Palais Des Congres on Saturday. The top three competitors in each division will get to represent Canada at the 2007 WKA World Championships in Germany in August. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Earlier in the day on Sunday, Bentley-Desousa successfully defended her gold medal in the kata or forms competition, although it wasn't easy either. Unlike the points fighting competition where there were only three other competitors in her weight division, there were 16 athletes registered in the 13-to 17-year-old kata event.

Following Saturday's preliminary round Bentley-Desousa enjoyed a one point lead over her main competitor Jessica Noden. After Sunday's final round they were tied, which meant they had to face off against each other in a tiebreaker in front of the three judges. When it was all said and done Bentley-Desousa was declared the unanimous winner.

"I'm very happy. I haven't been able to train that much because of the rugby so to win two gold medals is great," said Bentley-Desousa who is hoping to improve on the bronze medal she won in hardstyle forms at last year's world championships in Spain when she travels to Germany in August.

Fourteen-year-old Rebecca Shaffer is hoping to get back on the podium at the world championships after winning a gold medal in continuous fighting at the world championships in Niagara Falls in 2005.

For the third straight year Shaffer will be going to the world championships as the reigning Canadian champion in the junior -63kg weight division. Last year competing against girls who were two and three years her senior, she failed to make the medal round. A year old and a year wiser, she's hoping to come back from Germany with at least a bronze medal.

Rounding out the Elite Martial Arts contingent heading to Germany in August will be Helen Mehdin, who finished second in points fighting in the -50kg weight division, and Nicolas St. Pierre who placed third in points fighting.

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

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