Fifteen martial artists are returning from The Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA) World Martial Arts Games in Richmond with 19 medals.
From Sept. 3 to 7, more than 300 competitors from seven different countries gathered in Richmond to battle for martial arts supremacy.
All the events were held at the Richmond Olympic Oval, and were granted patronage officially by the International Olympic Committee.
Team Canada coach and competitor, Holly Raczynski, led the way by winning gold in all four divisions she competed in – point sparring, kickboxing, Korean patterns and traditional Japanese katas.
The other 14 competitors from Provincial Martial Arts Shuswap brought home another 15 medals combined.
Will Phillips, from Sicamous, is the new world champion point fighter.
“Will had a lot of tough competition from the U.S.A. and Canada and managed to pull out an overtime win by landing a roundhouse kick to the head of his opponent.”
This was one of the closest and most exciting matches of the tournament,” exclaimed Holly Raczynski.
Mother and son, Danette and Houston Rampton, are both world champions in their traditional Japanese kata divisions.
Danette also placed second in point sparring, and Houston brought home the bronze in point sparring.
Cassidy Hughes won gold in the women’s colour belt division for point sparring, and also got silver in the kickboxing division.
Evan Fankhouser and Rena Kakuda both showed amazing efforts at their first international event.
They each just missed the podium by coming in fourth place in both kata and kickboxing divisions.
“Although they did not medal, Evan and Rena put forth an incredible effort and showcased amazing martial art skills that did not go unrecognized,” Raczynski said.
“Fourth place is a difficult placing to accept and they should both be very proud of their performances. They are both true fighters.”
An-Mei Andreassen defeated teammate Rena Kakuda in the 15- to 17-year-old colour belt division to win the bronze medal.
Brandy Allison brought home a bronze medal in the 15- to 17-year-old point sparring division, beating competitors from Great Britain and Canada.
Brother and sister, Garrett and Brianna Marshall, both green belts, competed in open colour belt divisions. Competing in the open division meant having to compete against students with many more years of experience than them, and they both fared very well.
Garrett won first in kata, and made a huge comeback after being down six points in a point-fighting match to attain the bronze medal, winning the match 7-6.
Brianna placed second in kata and lost her first kickboxing and point sparring match to a very strong German contender.
Another brother sister duo from Salmon Arm was Ben and Elyssa Eddy.
Ben brought home silver in katas and fought some very tough British, German and American competitors.
His younger sister Elyssa placed second in kickboxing, and it was only her second time competing in this type of event.
Lindsey Christian–Hack competed in the 15- to 17-year-old black-belt division.
“This was one of the most talented and toughest divisions at the event,” said Raczynski.
Despite the difficult opposition, Christian-Hack fought her way to win the bronze medal in this kickboxing division.
Cole Desautels, a new member of the Salmon Arm PMA, also competed in katas, point sparring, and kickboxing.
Although he did not medal, Desautels did a great job for his first international competition.