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    Karate kids clean up at world championships

    A group of Langdon karate kids have gone to the world stage and are coming back with some hardware to show for their efforts.
    Students from Oku Damashi Martial Arts in Langdon picked up eight medals from the World Karate Championships held in Orlando, Fla., from Nov. 6-10. The young athletes were part of the Team Canada contingent to compete at the giant tournament that wrapped with finals, a medal ceremony and wrap up party on Friday, Nov. 10.
    There were long days of competition in Orlando but the results showed the Langdon kids have world-class talent when it comes to karate.
    “The kids really represented Langdon, Canada and our dojo so amazingly well,” said Oku Damashi sensei Tammy Thankachen. “Words can’t express how proud I am of these amazing athletes.
    “It’s been an extremely successful week. A lot of these kids have their first time at worlds and it’s been so great for them.”
    The girls led the way for the Langdon group, with all the medals coming from five athletes.
    Early in the week, nine-year-old Emily McWilliam got things started off by winning bronze in continuous sparring, while 17-year-old Amy Saretsky also picked up a bronze in continuous sparring. 
    Saretsky also won silver in team continuous sparring, while 12-year-olds Allison Unruh and Kailey Lang also picked up silver in team continuous sparring for their age group.
    “There were pretty intense fights,” Thankachen said. “The kids really fought hard.”
    Unruh and Lang brought back silvers in individual sparring for their second medals of the tournament.
    Talisa Cowley, 11, took home the biggest prize among the Langdonites by winning gold in individual continuous sparring.
    On the boys side, the Langdon contingent fell short of medals but the experience was a great one for them overall.
    Thankachen said 10-year-olds Luke McWilliam, Cole Visser and Kayden Lang all represented Langdon well with their best efforts and should be extremely proud of what they accomplished getting to the tournament.
    “At the world championships, the boys divisions are much larger and harder to get into the top four,” Thankachen said. “They really worked hard, but the competition is tougher and the W didn’t go their way this time around. 
    “We say at the first time that win or lose you will grow from the experience. They are champions no matter what. They train hard, they are dedicated and they love the sport of karate. These are some of the hardest-working kids I know. They made Team Canada and really fought their best.”