Team Epic continued their strong start to 2017 by winning 8 WAKO British titles on Sunday 19th February.
With a place in the team GB squad at stake for all podium finishers, the championships brought people together from all over the nation to compete in Birmingham.
Team Epic competitors: Alex Fellender-Evans, Ben Davies, Dylan Hunt, Ellie Doyle, Finlay Haynes, Harrison Doyle, Harry Rhodes, George Sherlock, Harvey Pollard, Harvey Tyler, Jack Pollard, Kameron Doyle, Katie Williams, Matt Roberts, Molly Hershaw, Oliver Hiscutt, Sean MacDonald, Teia Doyle.
Saturday saw the light continuous categories go ahead, it was a strong display from our warriors and two British champions emerged. Harvey Tyler won the -28kg category to become the WAKO British champion. Alex Fellender-Evans also became the continuous British champion in his category. He fought well with slick movement and crisp combinations, making his opponents cover and concede points as he exploited their weaknesses. Finlay Haynes placed 3rd in the -28kg Light continuous category. Dylan Hunt also claimed a bronze medal in this style but in the -32kg!
On the Sunday it was points fighting and In the kids points categories EPIC excelled with title wins for Harvey Pollard, Harvey Tyler and Ellie Doyle x2. The day started brightly for Team EPIC with the peewee 6 years and under category young Harvey Pollard beat his first opponent with ease but when it came to the final he found himself up against his nemesis. Aaron Dudley from the coveted Byrne Black Belt Academy (BBBA) had beaten Pollard on the previous 3 occasions. However a spirited performance mixed with the listening skills and reactions as his coaches commands came loud and animatedly from behind created a great atmosphere. A tie after normal time, Pollard went on to win 14-11 in extra time and lift his first title. Sean MacDonald got a bronze medal in the -28kg pee wee points category and Oliver Hiscutt conceded a late head kick (2 points) from being 3-1 up and then 3-2 before the 2-point kick landed, final score 3-4. Hiscutt competed in the -32kg pee wee category. Jack Pollard also fought gallantly in the -28kg pee wee category losing narrowly in the quarter finals to the eventual runner-up. Teia Doyle was twice beaten in the finals of her categories. She claimed two silvers, one in the -28kg pee wee girls and one in the -32kg pee wee girls. She is a bright prospect for the future as she shows great understanding of the sport at the age of 7 and has the technique to back it up!
In the kids -28kg category EPIC had a British champion emerge. Harvey Tyler outclassed his opponents on his way to the final against fellow EPIC team mate George Sherlock. Tyler, the 2016 champion in this category, retained his title with patient set up moves and precise technique. That doesn’t take away the skill level that Sherlock performed with in this fight, he kept his head and moved well. On another day it could have gone his way. Alex Fellender-Evans claimed a bronze in this category, making it an EPIC 1, 2, 3!
Harry Rhodes was unlucky not to place in the -37kg points but Harrison Doyle made it to the final of this category but was unlucky not to win it. He fought well but ultimately was just pipped to the title by a strong opponent, silver for the young man. Katie Williams stepped up after just a year of training to the -55kg and -60kg categories and was unlucky to fall just short of the podium.
Ellie Doyle stole the limelight on day two by winning two titles. The first in -32kg girls and the second in -37kg girls. Strong performances and a desire to win that outshone her opponents saw her twice stand on centre podium.
In the Juniors 18-year old Ben Davies narrowly lost his -74kg category but atoned for this by winning a high-pace fight against current GB senior squad member Jarrod Nelson. Davies won the -79kg category in style over the two rounds of the final to lift the trophy and claim the accolade of British champion. Kameron Doyle fought his way through his category before finding himself 4-1 down to his ‘Team Blueblood’ opponent in the final. By the interval Doyle, a current world champion, had stepped it up a gear and pulled it back to 4-4. He then stepped it up again and led the fight from then on in. The referees missed a headkick in both fighters’ favour before the buzzer went off which allowed the 16-year old to become the -63kg British champion.
In the adult points categories Molly Hershaw earned a shot at GB squad training by placing in both the -70kg and +70kg categories. In the +70kg category she pushed British Champion Gemma Upfold all the way, narrowly losing 9-7 despite leading most of the fight. A very accomplished performance. Matt Roberts came from 4-1 down to 4-3 in the quarter finals of the -89kg category against the man who would go on to win the title. The referees missed a clear shot with 3 seconds to go which would have taken the fight to extra time but it wasn’t to be his day.
With 8 new titles to boast on top of already topping the national medal charts at the KWON and 2nd at the Watford Open Nationals it’s strength-to-strength for TEAM EPIC.
The team’s next adventure is the worlds biggest WAKO tournament- the Irish open! March 3rd-6th.