Pollet’s fighters punch above their weight in South Africa

THE Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre has proven itself world class following a terrific outing at the World Goju Ryu Karate Championships at Cape Town, South Africa.

Leading a touring party of 22 with 16 competing athletes, Hanshi Ian Pollet led the way with a gold medal-winning performance in the grand masters kumite category as the Pollet’s Martial Arts team finished the three-day championships sixth in the world.

“It’s fantastic. We are world class,” Pollet enthused, with five athletes making the trip from Orange.

“It’s a world-class group of people who train in the country. Australians, we won’t be put down. We’ll go and fight, no matter what it takes, we will fight. We are respected for that type of courage.”

And that respect was well earned in South Africa.

“We got sixth in the world. You can’t say that’s bad,” he said, adding there were 42 competing nations at the tournament.

Joining Pollet on the medal dias at Cape Town was Ben Morrison, who won silver in the kumite, while Ben Puxty and Tanya Vella each claimed a bronze in the same discipline.

Pollet also brought home a silver in the kata, as did Linda Malone.

Further silver and bronze medals were won in the team event in the kumite and irkumi classes, with the later tested thoroughly from the outset.

“Our team had to fight the South Africans first up,” Pollet said of the irkumi continuous fighting team.

“And those South Africans were damn good. We beat them, in that event anyway.”

Pollet said the South African competition was fantastic and considering the limited three-month preparation his side endured - most other competing countries worked for two years in the lead-up to the championships - his team’s medal swag was remarkable.

“The talent, the talent of the South African World Championships, it was just wonderful,” he said, with big teams from Russia, Germany, the Ukraine, England, Poland, New Zealand and hosts South Africa on show.

“(A limited preparation) really didn’t matter to me. The way I looked at it, we were competing on all fronts; karate, ju-jit-su, the cage, muay thai.

“I said to the guys before they left, when you go to the world championships, I’ve been to a few now, you’ll see such speed and talent it’ll surprise you. Of course when they got there, they weren’t disappointed.”

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