Liverpool Echo Arena played host to hundreds of international competitors this weekend, as the World Shotokan Karate Championships were held in the city.
Fighters from around the world, including countries such as Mexico, Germany and the USA, arrived in the city to compete for titles in the Kata and Kumite events.
The England team had a successful weekend, achieving three junior golds on the opening day before collecting five senior medals on the Sunday, including two golds won by local fighters Hisham Saif and James McGorian.
McGorian, from Huyton, was crowned World Individual Kumite champion after a thrilling final and could not hide his delight at winning the title. He told JMU Journalism: “The atmosphere was electric, the crowd were all behind me. Winning for your own country is one thing, but to do it in your own city tops any feeling I’ve ever had.”
Andy Sherry, a 9th Dan black belt and chief instructor of the Karate Union of Great Britain, stated that the event had been planned over the last four years and was pleased with its success.
He said: “Everyone’s delighted with Liverpool. The competitors who’ve come here never thought the city was like this and everything has gone very smoothly.”
He added that he felt the event had been the best so far, topping the championships held in Chicago two years ago and noted that the competitors from America and Russia were particularly impressed with both the venue and the city.
John McGorian, who runs a Karate club in Aintree and competed in the team Kumite with Joseph Rawcliffe and individual champion James McGorian, feels that the sport is growing and praised the success of the event in Liverpool.
He said: “We’ve been to quite a few countries, but I think that this has been by far the best place to be. Normally you’re in the middle of nowhere and if you want to see anything, you can’t, whereas in Liverpool there’s an array of all sorts within walking distance.”
The next world championships will be held in two years’ time in 2015, when Poland will host the event.
Additional reporting by Nathan Potter, JMU Journalism TV & photo gallery by Chris Cunningham