World Championship role reversal for city club Kanzen Karate

© Chris Scott Photography DundeeCity club Kanzen Karate have jetted out to Bratislava, Slovakia for this year’s World Championships.
City club Kanzen Karate have jetted out to Bratislava, Slovakia for this year’s World Championships.

This time last year Kanzen Karate were preparing to host one of the biggest karate tournaments on the planet in their own back garden.

Fast forward 12 months and the city club are in Slovakia for the 2019 World Union of Karate-Do Federations (WUKF) World Karate Championships.

Based across Dundee and Angus, Kanzen held the 2018 tournament at Dundee Ice Arena, welcoming over 4,000 people to the city.

However, the shoe will be on the other foot this week as they descend upon Bratislava alongside scores of competitors, coaches, officials and spectators from countries all over the world.

The event is one of the largest martial tournaments in the world with over 2,300 athletes from 40 counties and five continents involved.

A squad of over 100 will travel with Kanzen for the championships, which commence on Thursday and end on Sunday, with 40 athletes taking part on the mats.

President and Sensei Roy O’Kane admits he is looking forward to the competition without the stress of organising proceedings beyond his own club.

Kanzen Karate, led by president Roy O’Kane, hosted last year’s WUKF World Championships in Dundee. Picture by Christopher Scott Photography Dundee

“It’s an amazing relief, to be honest,” he said.

“I can actually enjoy it for a change, a year on this week from when we hosted the World Championships in Dundee.

“It was an amazing experience, a real privilege and an honour to represent our club, our city, our country in Dundee.

“However, I think I’ll enjoy this one more!

“We are very much looking forward to visiting Bratislava and competing alongside so many athletes from across the world.

“We were honoured to host this event last year and Dundee really stepped up to deliver an amazing event for all the teams.

“Last year, we had added pressure of delivering a major sporting event whilst being competitive at the same time. This year allows us to focus exclusively on the competition and our athletes.

“I’ll be able to enjoy the event this year without the pressure of hosting it, too.”

Since the Worlds came to the city last summer, O’Kane has been able to invest more of his time back in to coaching at Kanzen’s facilities in Dundee, Carnoustie, Arbroath and Forfar.

And he feels their squad is ready and able to compete in the Slovakian capital.

He added: “We have 40 people competing, the rest of the 110-strong squad will be made up of coaches, referees and supporters. It’s going to be like Dundee on tour!

“We have been building on last year’s World Championships with a strong showing at tournaments like the European Championships.

“We have prepared well so the squad is in good shape and we are pretty hopeful.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard over the last six months, competing locally, nationally and internationally and we are ready once again to represent our city, club and country with pride.

“The support we have received has been phenomenal and the effort from our athletes has been immense.

“Competing at these major events is high pressure for everyone involved but its made easier knowing we are prepared and we will have lots of people back home cheering us on.”