BC’s karate team had about as good of a Canada Games debut as you could ask for, delivering 10 medals at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
“I think there’s a little sense of relief, because we knew we had a strong team,” says Toshihide (Toshi) Uchiage (Richmond), BC head coach. “But you never know until you actually get in the ring and start fighting it out.”
Karate was in the spotlight from the start of the Canada Games as BC’s Oonah Gamboa (Vancouver) carried the province’s flag into the opening ceremony. Uchiage says the first few days were exciting for the team. “It is very hard the first few days for sure. They were definitely distracted at first. But, as soon as we started the competition, everyone was refocused for the tournament.” Gamboa went onto win a gold in Kata.
Uchiage says the multisport Games experience in PEI will help prepare the BC karate athletes for future international competitions. “They can take the lessons they learned through this experience – take it back home and work on their karate.”
The goal for these karate athletes is to represent Canada at the Pan American Games. “They are able to use this experience [in PEI] when they step onto the senior team and work their way to the Pan Am Games four years from now,” concludes Uchiage
Karate is not on the Olympic program for Paris 2024, but there is an international effort to get the sport into the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
- Filed by Sam Corea (@sammy_sez), Team BC Communications Staff
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