WKGB member Darlene Foster who trains with the MOKKO organisation at Pontypridd Kyokushin Karate Club recently won a Silver Medal at the World Karate Federation (WKF) Senior Championships held in Bremen, Germany from 4 - 9th November 2014.
Categories for people with Disabilities were included by the WKF for the first time in the Bremen Championships, marking this success as a unique achievement. The tournament is the largest Karate tournament in the World, attracting over a thousand entries from 116 countries worldwide from all styles of Karate. The WKF is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is making a bid for Karate to be included in the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Darlene has trained at the Pontypridd Dojo for nearly 14 years under the directorship of Instructor Alwyn Heath 6th Dan - an ex-international competitor himself. She has medaled at British & Welsh championships and realised another life ambition recently when she achieved her Black Belt 1st Dan grading in September.
Darlene, who has learning difficulties, was part of the All styles Welsh Karate Governing body (WKGB - recognised by Sport Wales) team of 11 competitors which also included another athlete with learning difficulties (Stuart Smith WSKO) and coached by NationalCoaches Senseis Chico Mbakwe & Hugh ruse.
Darlene's mother commented that " I am very proud of Darlene and grateful to the WKGB for giving Darlene the opportunity to prove herself and realise her dream!!" Finals at the WKF Championships were held on Saturday & Sunday - the last two days of the championships.
The WKGB presence Bremen celebrated another significant achievement with Jason Ashcroft, a WKF & WKGB referee, being one of the very few referees from Europe that took charge of any Final category events on Saturday 8th November.
The WKGB works in close conjunction with Disability Sport Wales who have supported the WKGB in all equality issues including participation pathways for athletes with Disabilities and are working closely with the WKGB to introduce the Disability Insport programme to all members.
Due to a lack of funding from Sport Wales, Darlene was part funding by the WKGB and partly self-funding supported by her club.